Category Archives: Florida

A Gentle Encounter with an Alligator at Wakulla Springs State Park Trail

So if you get eaten, you'll also get fined!

So if you get eaten, you’ll also get fined!

Alligators are a common Florida attraction.

Growing up near the Everglades my friends and I could ride our bikes westward on Wiles Road until it abruptly terminated into a watery ditch dividing our civilization from their 1.5 million acre wet-wonderland of mangroves, sawgrass, stalking panthers, and the occasional 18 foot Boa that was once a pet to an owner unknowledgeable that baby snakes too grow up. At the apex of midday, they would lazily sunbathe on the distant bank totally unimpressed and disinterested in our human presence.

Short of doing something objectively stupid–say diving in blindly splashing vaguely toward their young while screaming Marco Polo–we were never on their diet.

Driving from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Meyers on Alligator Alley there are stops in the desolate nowhere of the 137 mile segment of highway where you can  stretch your legs and snap a photo of a malicious-enough looking hyper-predator as it also eyes you immobile from just a thirty-feet gulf of canal and indifference.

Every Florida Zoo has one as do many gas stations near Orlando. Florida is home of Gatorland and several Native American reservations where you watch non-Native American actors practice the decidedly non-Native American tradition of alligator wrestling. (Alligator wrestling was touted to Native American tribes as an exciting, albeit, inauthentic, way of generating revenue–prior to the more lucrative, but equally inauthentic, tradition of gaming.)

As my friend and I had toured Wakulla Springs by boat, we had just that morning viewed a half dozen alligators separated from us by the hull of our boat, twenty feet of water, and their severe disinterest in humans not actively teasing them.

A view from a Wakulla Springs State Park riverboat.

A view from a Wakulla Springs State Park riverboat.

Learn about how to spot your own personal alligator here:

Other alligator sightings:

But despite having seen dozens of alligators in my time, there had always been some protective barrier–a fence, a canal, a boat, or even just simply a large gathering of people.

I had abandoned my unenergetic friend at the Wakulla Springs Lodge to hike part of the linear six mile Wakulla Springs Trail as I wanted to see the forested confluence of the Wakulla River with the Sally Ward Spring. Upon my desolate arrival there was the obligatory “Warning Alligators” sign. I slowly crossed the bridge looking toward the banks and upriver. Nothing. I allowed my body to serve as a mosquito and fly buffet for a few minutes longer–still nothing.

Nuts.

I hiked another couple of miles before turning around. When I reappeared at the river crossing I saw a distant floating log. I paused on the shallow bridge now devoid of bugs and other annoyances and fantasized that I was being offered a lonely alligator encounter all my own in the middle of the north Florida woods.

Then I noticed the log had quite sharp teeth and a thrashing tail. Either the arborous victims of the logging industry had evolved into shape shifters and were seeking revenge on humankind, or I was being offered a lonely alligator encounter all my own in the middle of the north Florida woods.

The alligator then noticed me, and turned toward me at an accelerated rate of speed.

I did what anyone would have done–I retrieved my Samsung and proceeded to record a two-minute YouTube video to be followed by several pictures where I leaned into the lethal creature as if attempting to offer notes and stage direction.

Quickly it identified me as either being too big or too stupid to attack and tried to hide underwater.

The alligator tried to hide underwater in one of the cleanest springs in the world. It didn't work.

The alligator tried to hide underwater in one of the cleanest springs in the world. It didn’t work.

Eventually it needed air and allowed it’s head and front legs to float buoyantly to the surface.

A fresh breath of air.

A fresh breath of air.

I interpreted this series of movements–minding it’s own business, noticing me staring and wading over to investigate, strategically estimating my size, hiding, and now remaining still in the hopes that my sight was based upon movement like his Jurassic cousin–as this: “You scare me. Please go away.”

I smiled into it’s dark eyes, whispered “thank you,” and walked calmly away with the totally irrational   feeling of having communed with nature.

Ready to attack--Wakulla Springs State Park Trail

Ready to attack–Wakulla Springs State Park Trail

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Today is Election Day, Vote!

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Today is election day and everyone has done their job.

Thousands of volunteers from around the state have made phone calls, knocked on doors, pestered you to sign petitions and hundreds of others will be driving the disabled to the polls today as they have been for the last ten early voting days.

Absentee ballots were tracked and mailers (occasionally making accurate statements) were made and sent.

Prospective voters have been bombarded with television ads of democrats distancing themselves from Obama while posing with a gun and insisting they’ll defend the Second Amendment. Some republicans meanwhile, in apparent seriousness, explained that the “myth” of global climate change is “proved” false because God said he’d never flood the world again after Noah’s aquatic adventure in antiquity with two of every animal.

Debates were had on live television. . . Even a small portable fan famously did its job.

Attorney General Pam Bondi takes her campaign so seriously that, with Governor Scott’s blessing, she rescheduled the execution of Marshall Lee Gore so she could attend a political fundraiser.

Democracy in a free and imperfect society is not an inexpensive affair.

$473,137,991.31 has been contributed from 1,533 political organizations and committees during the 2014 Florida General Election cycle. Of that, $458,702,602.49 was spent. This is in addition to what the actual candidates and campaigns spent. If you wish to kill what’s left of your soul, you can find where the money came from and where it went by searching through the Florida Division of Elections database here. In county races, judicial races, soil and water conservation districts, and community development districts, you need to go to your local supervisor of elections website to track down their financial reports–a list of each county supervisor’s website by county in alphabetical order can be found here. For information about municipal (mayor and city commissioner) fundraising you will have to call the municipal clerk for your city as only some will publish those documents online.

Lots of money has been expended in fighting for your attention.

They chose their government with guns.  (Mass graves in the Bosnia Hillside. I traveled here in 1999.)

They chose their government with guns. (Mass graves in the Bosnia Hillside. I traveled here in 1999.)

Overseas, more than 160,000 U.S. troops are defending our safety, security, freedom to engage in very imperfect speech, and our right to vote from foreign and domestic threats.

There are ninety-five people who are vying to be responsible for those troops and who otherwise claim to have a vision for our nation’s future. They are running for the United States House of Representatives in 27 Florida congressional districts. If you happen to live in Florida’s Second Congressional District, I would particularly like to highlight the candidacy of moderate-Democrat Gwen Graham–an attorney and education advocate who happens also to be the daughter of popular former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham. You can visit her website here to learn more.

Five names will appear on the ballot for office of Governor, with a further five candidates available for election as write in candidates. These are the websites for the two major political candidates, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

Many people will leave the rest of the ballot blank. Consider not doing this. Importantly, we get to decide who our state’s chief prosecutor is–which is pretty neat!  Also, if you plan on voting for Amendment Two (medical marijuana legalization) than you had better stay in your voting booth long enough to vote for George Sheldon–because, in my opinion, if Pam Bondi is reelected she will do everything in her power to prevent the implementation of medicinal marijuana no matter the will of the voters or the will of medical practitioners!  These are the websites for the major political candidates for Attorney General, George Sheldon and Pam Bondi.

As respected political commentator Matt Isbell explains, as most real power over our daily lives is wielded by local government, it is important to focus on your local county commission races. His extensive analysis can be found here. Or, if you prefer to wait a day, it’ll probably end-up being cut and pasted on Politico, the Daily Kos, or the Huffington Post. He grew up in Cooper City, and really hopes incumbent commissioner, and part-time alleged cartoon super-villain, Jon Sims gets voted off his boyhood local council.

I have also prepared individual county guides in local, judicial, and special district elections for Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Leon counties.

In any event, whoever you support–everyone has done their job.

Now it is our turn to do our job.

Vote!

If you have trouble voting, call 844-FL-Votes.

Richard Junnier behind the scenes

In 2012, Attorney Richard Junnier served as Chair of the Leon County Democratic Party and Executive Committee. He practices law throughout the state of Florida, often on issues related to election and campaign finance law. His law firm’s website is www.JunnierLaw.com.

Miami-Dade County Guide to Non-Partisan County, Judicial, and Special District Elections

Richard Junnier behind the scenes

Remember to vote early.  Here is a list of all Early Voting Sites in Miami-Dade County.

Thank you for visiting the Adventure Lawyer’s “Miami-Dade County Guide to Non-Partisan County, Judicial, and Special District Elections.”

This guide is intended to help undecided voters throughout Miami-Dade County identify relevant information relating to potentially otherwise unknown candidates when deciding which individual most deserves your vote. It lists all candidates for each contested county, judicial, and special district board election appearing on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

Using the Guide

Campaign Websites

Directly under each candidate’s name is a link to their campaign website or their campaign Facebook page.  If a candidate has both, the link generally attaches to their website which will then contains its own link to their campaign Facebook page, if they have one. If I was unable to find a candidate campaign website or a campaign Facebook page, there will be the statement “No Website Found.”

Campaign Finance Records

Directly under each candidate’s link to their campaign website or Facebook page, or the words “No Website Found,” is, when available, a link to each candidate’s most recent campaign finance report as of October 10, 2014. This link is titled “Latest Campaign Finance Report.”  If I was unable to find a posting of their most recent (or any) posting of the candidate’s campaign finance report, instead of a link, you will find the statement “No Campaign Finance Information Found.”

Because whether or not their campaign finance reports are published timely by third parties is beyond the reasonable scope of responsibility of the candidate, it may be appropriate not to hold their status of “No Campaign Finance Information Found” against them.

Political Affiliation

Except for judicial races, the political affiliation of each candidate, as recorded by the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections, is stated next to the name of each non-judicial candidate.  Though these are non-partisan races this information is provided for voters who are strongly affiliated with a particular political party and wish to vote for members of that party in local non-judicial offices.

In a very few instances I was unable to confirm a candidate’s voter registration status, and therefore, their party affiliation (if any). For those few candidates the words “Could Not Confirm Voter Registration” appear in place of their party affiliation. In almost every case they are probably registered, they just may not have updated a name change or they may have a name submitted for the ballot that is different from their legal name–such as when someone gets married, takes her spouse’s last name, but keeps her maiden name for election purposes due to its familiarity with voters. Also, sometimes, their name has simply been misspelled in the database.

In other words, consider not penalizing the candidate just because we couldn’t divine the universe of possibilities when looking up candidate names through the database.

For those candidates stated as “NPA,” that simply means that their voter registration states that they have “No Party Affiliation.”

Incumbency

Some voters believe that incumbents should be retained if they perceive that the current Commission or Board is doing a good job as a whole. Conversely, dissatisfied voters  may wish to “vote the bums out” (though please consider first making sure that the incumbent on the ballot hasn’t been the one trying to solve the problem.) Therefore, if a candidate is an incumbent, it is so stated next to their names.

Outlier Candidates

For the vast majority of candidates, the only information the Guide provides are their names, party affiliation, and, when available, links to their campaign websites or, as of October 10, 2014, their latest campaign finance reports.  Occasionally, however, there is an outlier candidate worthy of special attention.

Sometimes, it’s a positive highlight members of the general public may not commonly know: Lakes by the Bay South Community Development District Seat 5 candidate William A. Pacetti III has a well documented and long history of commitment to his community.

Unfortunately, other times, a candidate may have a noteworthy unorthodox past or demeanor, that those who do not often pay close attention to local politics may not be aware: The Miami Herald revoked its endorsement of sitting Judge Jacqueline “Jackie” Schwartz after she allegedly behaved inappropriately with a small business owner over a campaign sign–she also allegedly still sends out mailers saying she is endorsed by the Herald.

In the event that a candidate may be an outlier, a small note is made beneath their name, campaign website link, or phrase “No Website Found,” and their Latest Campaign Finance Report or phrase “No Campaign Financial Information Found.” The representations and accusations are not my own, so I include a link to news reports (and one Youtube video) in citation of the statements made. In these cases, I hope you will do further research on your own.

All statements are intended as statements of opinion and are not statements of fact. I have done my best to exclude negative nonsense.

Media Coverage

When available, I offer a link to the Miami Herald’s analysis of each race.

Miami-Dade County Judge
Juez Del Condado

Jij Konte

Group 19:
Grupo 19:
Gwoup 19:

I will not disclose the political affiliation of judicial candidates.

Frank Bocanegra
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Jacqueline “Jackie” Schwartz (Incumbent) 
Campaign Webstie
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: The Miami Herald has retracted its endorsement of her reelection due to questions of her temperament, but reportedly, she is still sending out mailers saying she is endorsed by the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser
Tasador De Inmuebles
Evalyate Pwopriyete

Pedro J. Garcia REPUBLICAN
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Eddy Gonzalez REPUBLICAN
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Lakes by the Bay South Community Development District
Distrito De Desarrollo De La Comunidad
Distrik Devlopman Kominote

Seat 5:
Escano 5:
Syej 5:

Danny Dinicola 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

William A. Pacetti III (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Note: 2010 he was given a certificate of appreciation from the Miami-Dade County Commission. 

The view outside "Verde."  It is, I must say, an appropriate artistic expression for Miami politics.  When the new owner of the iconic Miami Herald Building was refused permission to build a casino, he spontaneously exploded half his building to treat tourists with a  perpetual view of what he thought about the government's decision.

The view outside “Verde.” It is, I must say, an appropriate artistic expression for Miami politics. When the new owner of the iconic Miami Herald Building was refused permission to build a casino, he spontaneously exploded half his building to treat tourists with a perpetual view of what he thought about the government’s decision.

Midtown Miami Community Development District
Distrito De Desarrollo De Law Comunidad
Distrik Devlopman Kominote

Seat 1:
Escano 1:
Syej 1:

Luis Baez NPA
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Joseph Padula NPA
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Now wasn’t that last one helpful? Why on Earth is a group that handles $80,000,000 so unknown?

Richard Junnier: Making a legal analysis of Fangate

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

This My View was originally published with the Tallahassee Democrat.

The organizers of the Oct. 15 gubernatorial debate have accused Charlie Crist of breaking the rules. From a legal standpoint, that simply isn’t true.

A contract is an agreement courts will enforce. To be enforceable, the agreement must be made for a legal purpose (no drug deals), must be mutually agreed to by people (yes, this includes corporations) with capacity (incorporated or 18, sober, and sane) and must include “adequate” consideration (you can’t sell your Ferrari for $1, but you can for $1 and a rug, for reasons better left to a future article). Though not ideal, some contracts can be made orally, while others, like the sale of property, must be written.

A person enters into a contract when he has “accepted” an “offer.” If a person is sent a contract but sends back a signed altered version of it, it is a “counteroffer” and thereby necessarily rejects the original contract. The second person may reject the counteroffer, accept it, or respond with another counteroffer. Under certain circumstances, the second person may accept the counteroffer through omission or inaction.

That is likely the case here:

The organizers sent both the Crist and Rick Scott campaigns an identical debate agreement, which stated that no electronic devices could be used, “including fans.” This was the organizers’ “offer.” Scott’s campaign accepted the offer and the Crist campaign signed the agreement but added the statement “With the understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.”

Florida law would treat the Crist’s altered contract as a “counteroffer” and therefore a rejection of the organizers’ offer. Assuming that the Scott campaign knew about the counteroffer, and the various parties, including the Crist campaign and the debate’s sponsors and organizers began to rely on the agreement by expending money and resources toward promoting and preparing for the debate, the Scott campaign effectively “ratified” the Crist campaign’s “Fan Amendment” through its inaction to object.

(If the organizers failed to notify the Scott campaign of the counteroffer, than the Crist campaign was still entitled to the fan and the Scott campaign’s attorney is also likely entitled to an animated conversation with the debate organizers.)

This new agreement allowed for Crist to have his fan if he felt the temperature warranted it, and created a duty for both Crist and Scott to appear for the debate. When only Crist appeared, Gov. Scott (in my opinion) was in breach of contract.

Moreover, had he not finally changed his mind after a fun but uncomfortable seven minutes, Scott may have even been liable for the damages caused to the debate sponsors, organizers and the media outlets that spent good money traveling to an event promising two candidates.

Finally, the obligatory caveat. I have seen and read what appear to be the relevant documents, but there may be other applicable documents I am unaware of, so please don’t confuse this My View for a proper legal memorandum.

Richard Junnier is the immediate past chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee and also has served as its special counsel for campaign finance and election law. He practices both election law and contract law throughout Florida. Contact him at rjunnier@junnierlaw.com.

Broward County Guide to Non-Partisan Municipal, County, and Special District Elections

Richard Junnier behind the scenes

Remember to vote early.  Here is a list of all Early Voting Sites in Broward County.

Thank you for visiting the Adventure Lawyer’s “Broward County Guide to Non-Partisan Municipal, County, and Special District Elections.”

This guide is intended to help undecided voters throughout Broward County identify relevant information relating to potentially otherwise unknown candidates when deciding which individual most deserves your vote. It lists all candidates for each contested municipal, judicial, and special district board election appearing on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

Using the Guide

Campaign Websites

Directly under each candidate’s name is a link to their campaign website or their campaign Facebook page.  If a candidate has both, the link generally attaches to their website which will then contains its own link to their campaign Facebook page, if they have one. If I was unable to find a candidate campaign website or a campaign Facebook page, there will be the statement “No Website Found.”

Campaign Finance Records

Campaign Finance Reports for municipal elections are recorded with each municipal clerk.  The Clerks for Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, Margate, Pompano Beach, and Wilton Manors post their candidates’ campaign finance records online. Clerks for Lauderdale Lakes, Oakland Park, Tamarac, and West Park apparently do not. Judicial and Special District candidate campaign finance reports are recorded at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. For some of the these races the Supervisor posts an updated link to these records (such as in judicial races) and in others the Supervisor does not.

Directly under each candidate’s link to their campaign website or Facebook page, or the words “No Website Found,” is, when available, a link to each candidate’s most recent campaign finance report as of October 10, 2014. This link is titled “Latest Campaign Finance Report.”  If I was unable to find a posting of their most recent (or any) posting of the candidate’s campaign finance report, instead of a link, you will find the statement “No Campaign Finance Information Found.”

Because whether or not their campaign finance reports are published timely by third parties is beyond the reasonable scope of responsibility of the candidate, it may be appropriate not to hold their status of “No Campaign Finance Information Found” against them.

Political Affiliation

Except for judicial races, the political affiliation of each candidate, as recorded by the Broward Supervisor of Elections, is stated next to the name of each non-judicial candidate.  Though these are non-partisan races this information is provided for voters who are strongly affiliated with a particular political party and wish to vote for members of that party in local non-judicial offices.

In a very few instances I was unable to confirm a candidate’s voter registration status, and therefore, their party affiliation (if any). For those few candidates the words “Could Not Confirm Voter Registration” appear in place of their party affiliation. In almost every case they are probably registered, they just may not have updated a name change or they may have a name submitted for the ballot that is different from their legal name–such as when someone gets married, takes her spouse’s last name, but keeps her maiden name for election purposes due to its familiarity with voters. Also, sometimes, their name has simply been misspelled in the database.

In other words, consider not penalizing the candidate just because we couldn’t divine the universe of possibilities when looking up candidate names through the database.

For those candidates stated as “NPA,” that simply means that their voter registration states that they have “No Party Affiliation.”

Incumbency

Some voters believe that incumbents should be retained if they perceive that the current Commission or Board is doing a good job as a whole. Conversely, dissatisfied voters  may wish to “vote the bums out” (though please consider first making sure that the incumbent on the ballot hasn’t been the one trying to solve the problem.) Therefore, if a candidate is an incumbent, it is so stated next to their names.

Outlier Candidates

For the vast majority of candidates, the only information the Guide provides are their names, party affiliation, and, when available, links to their campaign websites or, as of October 10, 2014, their latest campaign finance reports.  Occasionally, however, there is an outlier candidate worthy of special attention.

Sometimes, it’s a positive highlight members of the general public may not commonly know: Coral Springs Mayoral candidate Walter “Skip” Campbell is a former state senator and statewide attorney general nominee, and is an unusually highly qualified candidate. Barry L. Moss  is the only Democratic candidate running in a four way race in wildly liberal Pompano Beach’s Seat 5 race.

Unfortunately, other times, a candidate may have a noteworthy unorthodox past or demeanor, that those who do not often pay close attention to local politics may not be aware: Wilton Manors City Commission incumbent Ted Galatis made national news by screaming racial epithets during a road rage incident. Though everyone’s favorite unusual candidate seems to be Wilton Manor’s Christopher Warnigwho is 22, been involved in the gay porn industry, and has been twice arrested for impersonating a police officer, and who reportedly responded by buying a bulletproof vest with campaign cash. Not to be outdone, a third Wilton Manors candidate, Boyd Corbin, who I guess just enjoys dressing as a KKK member while assaulting his would-be constituents, well–just yikes! Elsewhere in Broward County, incumbent Cooper City Commissioner John Sims seems to be a venerable cornucopia of hate and alleged domestic violence.  He is so disliked, that the data director of one of the statewide campaigns took the trouble to detail and publicly publish a strategy to ensure he never becomes dog catcher let alone wins reelection. 

Some candidates simply seem clandestine. Walnut Creek CDD Seat 4 candidate, A. Munju, short for Ali Noor Munju, has no website and no campaign finance reports available. In some very low profile races, candidates think they have a chance of winning through the coin-toss model of voting. His opponent, Nicole Stames-DiCorpo, seems to be following precisely the same strategy.

In the event that a candidate may be an outlier, a small note is made beneath their name, campaign website link, or phrase “No Website Found,” and their Latest Campaign Finance Report or phrase “No Campaign Financial Information Found.” The representations and accusations are not my own, so I include a link to news reports (and one Youtube video) in citation of the statements made. In these cases, I hope you will do further research on your own.

All statements are intended as statements of opinion and are not statements of fact. I have done my best to exclude negative nonsense.

Media Coverage

When available, I offer a link to the Sun Sentinel’s analysis of each race.

The "parking lot" at Pier 66, Hollywood, FL

The “parking lot” at Pier 66, Hollywood, FL

Broward County Non-Partisan Municipal Races
(In alphabetical order by city)

Cooper City

City Commission, District 1:

Michael J. de Miranda REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

John Sims (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Controversial due to his racist Obama Facebook statuses and also someone on Youtube has put together a montage of his other objectionable behaviors. Anybody looking for a field strategy to unseat him may find it here. 

 Coral Springs

The Sun Sentinel’s coverage of these races may be found here.

Mayor:

Walter “Skip” Campbell DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Particularly High-Qualified Candidate: Former State Senator and Democratic Nominee for Florida Attorney General

Tom Powers REPUBLICAN 
Website Not Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Mr. Powers is considered by some to be a particularly controversial conservative candidate.

City Commission, Seat 4:

Lou Cimaglia DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Howard Irwin Melamed DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, Seat 5:

Joy Carter NPA
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Andy Holz REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Laurette Homan REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Dania Beach

 City Commission (elect two)

Charles Camacho Jr. DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Bobbie Grace (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

James Ridgely III (Withdrawn but name will appear on ballot) NPA
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Ineligible to serve due to 1989 felony conviction.

Marco Salvino Sr. REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rae Sandler NPA
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: She was escorted out of a commission meeting for being disruptive; you can decide if this was warranted by watching here.

Hallandale Beach

Sun Sentinel Coverage of these races can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 1: 

Gerald Dean DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Ann Pearl Henigson DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Chuck Kulin DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Anthony Sanders (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, Seat 2: 

Leo Grachow (Incumbent, appointed) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Keith London DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Lauderdale Lakes

Lauderdale Lakes does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-535-2705.

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage of this race can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 2:

Sandra Davey DEMOCRAT 
Website

TeAndre Warrior Gomion DEMOCRAT 
Website

Beverly M. Williams DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Jeffery L. Williams DEMOCRAT 
Website

Lauderhill

The Sun Sentinel’s coverage of this race can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 4:

Hayward J. Benson, Jr. (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

William Cossio DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: An unusual candidate; you can find his “Go Fund Me” site here.
Note: Candidate may wish to review (Sections 106.143(3) and (5), F.S.) in relationship to his use of his party affiliation stated on his website.

Denise Grant DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Kelvin G.Haynes DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Margate

City Commission, Seat 2: (Decided by August 26, Special Election)

City Commission, Seat 3:

Anthony Caggiano DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Edward A. DeCristofaro DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Lesa Peerman (Incumbant) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Oakland Park

Oakland Park does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-630-4300.

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage of this race can be found here.

 City Commission (elect two):

John Adornato III (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website

Steven Arnst REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Caution: Opposed lifting housing restrictions disproportionately effecting gay people.

Shari McCartney (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN 
Website

Pompano Beach

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for this race can be found here.

City Commission, District 1: 

Barry Dockswell (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Angela Lee Hill REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 2:

Charlotte Burrie (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Thomas Terwilliger REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 3:

Kenneth Alan Campbell REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rex Hardin (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 4:

Beverly Perkins DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Edward W. Phillips DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: According to the Dolphin Democrats Mr. Phillips opposed marriage equality and gay adoption during his endorsement interview.

Shelton Pooler DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Whitney Rawls DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 5:

John D. Bynoe REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Roger Gingerich REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Barry L. Moss DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Insider’s tip: Many Democratic political leaders and strategists are particularly excited about this candidate.

Joan McConnell REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Tamarac

Tamarac does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you  can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-597-3505.

Mayor:

Harry Dressler (Incumbent, appointed) DEMOCRAT 
Website

Mike Gelin DEMOCRAT
Website

City Commission, District 2:

Michelle J. Gomez (Incumbent, appointed) NPA
Website

Stewart Webster DEMOCRAT 
Website

West Park

West Park does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-989-2688.

Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for these races are available here.

City Commission, Seat 1: 

Thomas Dorsett (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Ronald Bell DEMOCRAT
No Website Found

City Commission, Seat 2: 

Kristine Judeikis DEMOCRAT
No Website Found

Reeta Nielly-Mills DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Ruby Seymour-Barr DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Wasn’t the analysis of these West Park races useful? 

Wilton Manors

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for these races are available here.

Mayor: 

Doug Blevins DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Boyd Corbin DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Yikes! To learn more about him on his website he encourages you to click his “Arrest” tab. Electing someone accused of anti-gay hate crimes as Wilton Manor’s next Mayor would be an interesting direction for the City to go in.

Gary Resnick (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission (elect two):

Justin Flippen DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Ted Galatis (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN
If he has a website for his reelection, it’s buried under a slew of bad publicity and search engines were unable to find it.
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: This is the Commissioner who thought it was okay to use the “N” word in a road rage incident. He apologized but refused to resign.

Lillie Harris DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Scott Newton (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Naomi Ruth Parker DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Sal Torre DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Christopher Warnig DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Worked in gay porn and was twice arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Kimber White DEMOCRAT (Has withdrawn from race, but name may still appear on ballot)
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Sunset at the pier in Deerfield Beach

Sunset at the pier in Deerfield Beach

Broward Countywide Non-Partisan Elections

Broward Soil & Water Conservation District, Dist. 4

Gineen Maria Bresso REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Financial Information Available

Douglas Russell, Jr. DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Financial Information Available
Note: Mr Russell is endorsed by the Democratic Nominee for Florida Agriculture Commissioner.

Fred Segal (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Available
Note: Mr. Segal is very active in the community and has a long track record of volunteerism.

17th Judicial Circuit Runoff

I will not disclose the political affiliation of judicial candidates.

Group 16

Dennis Bailey
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rhoda Sokoloff
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Broward County Court Judicial Runoff 

I will not disclose the political affiliation of judicial candidates.

Group 27:

Ian J. Richards (Incumbent)
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Claudia Robinson
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Broward County Non-Partisan Special District Elections

Monterra CDD

Seat 5:

Scott Barrocas DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Particularly High-Qualified Candidate: He is a Realtor and the Commission Aide to Broward County District One Commissioner Martin David Kiar.

Tina Forssten NPA
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Kevin Wilke 
NPA
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Seat 2:

Susan Elaine Kooiman DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Peter Rost NPA
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found
Possible Caution: Supported the controversial Cooper City Walmart being planned at Stirling and Pine Island Road.

Plantation Acres Improvement District

(Pick three)

Louis (Lou) Flanigan DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

J. Gary McAlpin REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Jennifer E. Nieset DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report 

Edward N. Szerlip REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Walnut Creek CDD

Seat 2:

Bette R. Clein DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Betty Ross REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Seat 4:

A. Munju (Short for Ali Noor Munju) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found
Possible Caution: May be a real estate speculator which could, but may not necessarily, present multiple conflicts of interest.
Possible Caution: Seems to have multiple aliases.

Nicole Stames-DiCorpo REPUBLICAN
No Website Available
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Perez Art Museum Miami

Richard at Perez Art Museum Miami

If I were to indulge in a criticism of south Florida’s status as a major world tourist destination it would be its lacking of a major world art museum.  

Intellectually, I understand that Boston has been around for a very long time and that early European colonists brought their Rembrandts and their Hieronymus Boschs with them. Therefore, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is able to rival most anything Europe has to offer, and the art scene of Miami does not.

But what the Treasure Coast lacks in history, it compensates for with huge sums of money, so I was positively enamored when I heard of plans to move the disastrously located Miami Art Museum into a $131 million dollar building designed by the legendary Swiss architecture powerhouse Herzog & de Meuron. I have been salivating for years during its controversial construction, and for months since its opening, for an opportunity to visit.

The day did not start off well.

My friend was three hours late because he had run a marathon the night before and was understandably more sleepy than his alarm clock was wakeful.

When we got there, we were bamboozled into parking about a half mile away from the building on the south side of the vast and empty Museum Park. 

This really could be "South Florida's front porch" if there were people here.

This really could be “south Florida’s front porch,” if there were people here.

Since we were late we scuttled plans to have lunch at the very nearby and wondrously international Bayside Marketplace food court, instead opting for what we knew was going to be an ambitiously priced museum cafe. Indeed, the proletariat must never find out how much a sandwich costs here as they may respond by burning down the building.

At any art museum cafe there is a certain level of pretension to be expected from the menu, and in this respect, the menu at “Verde” does not disappoint.

(Actually, since the cafe is encased with glass and concrete and offers views of an overpass and the half-demolished Miami Herald building, each obscuring a view of Biscayne Bay, the only association with “green” I could make with the cafe is the vast amounts of it disappearing from patrons’ wallets.)

The view outside "Verde."  It is, I must say, an appropriate artistic expression for Miami politics.  When the new owner of the iconic Miami Herald Building was refused permission to build a casino, he spontaneously exploded half his building to treat tourists with a  perpetual view of what he thought about the government's decision.

The view outside “Verde.” It is, I must say, an appropriate artistic expression for Miami politics. When the new owner of the iconic Miami Herald Building was refused permission to build a casino, he spontaneously exploded half his building to treat tourists with a perennial view of what he thought about the government’s decision.

If you are committed to eating at the restaurant I have two key pieces of advice.

One, make sure someone else, preferably a government or evil international consortium, is paying the bill.

Two, and I cannot be too clear on this point–buy the bottled water.

When they ask you if you want bottled water, treat it with the respect you’d give a mobster asking if your bar wants to participate in their anti-violence campaign. If you say, “no,” all manner of hijinks may occur.

After waiting 15 minutes for a table (there were several free, but they asked if they could “text” us when they were more conceptually prepared to host customers)  we were seated and asked the fateful question:

“Would you gentleman care to buy a bottled water?”

“No, thank you, we’ll drink what you have from the tap.”

He gave me the look of a kidnapper asking me if I wanted to see my son alive again, then promptly disappeared for forty-five minutes–presumably looking for our car so he could cut the breaks. Suddenly, we felt fortunate that we had been tricked into parking in an adjacent county.

This gave us plenty of time to download French dictionaries to try to translate the menu and file the needed paperwork to take out the loans necessary to cover the meal.  After traipsing around outside in the 100 degree humid south Florida weather (and this has apparently never happened there before) I had the audacity to be thirsty. My entreaties for non-bottled water went ignored through three service staff before I finally brought my glass to the Maitre d’. Within a few days a half-cup of water was presented garnished with a lonely single ice-cube.

We were not alone in feeling neglected, others resorted to flash-bangs and flare guns to get their servers’ attention. When unaccountably posh servers did reluctantly present themselves, questions about menu items were greeted with a vacillation of exasperated anger, sarcasm, and outright condescending disdain:

I asked about the serving size of the ceviche listed in the “lighter fare” section.

“‘Lighter fare’ means appetizer; so it’s the size of an appetizer,” one eye expressed concern that I might have a developmental cognitive disability while the other promised that he was still looking for our car.

“Are the pizzas big enough to share?”

“The pizzas are appropriately sized for personal consumption to the individual ordering it,” he bellowed cryptically with an enigmatic arrogance.

Even by Miami’s apathetic to antagonistic customer service standards–this was a very special place.

We both ordered a pizza involving prosciutto and arugula.  Each turned out to be the size of Texas, and were objectively very good–they don’t skimp on the fancy ingredients and the food is presented with a fulgent exuberance. It was ironically salty, however, and there was no more water forthcoming absent a trip to the bathroom sink.

The patrons surrounding us got steaks and fresh fish and in every case the portions appeared generous and gorgeously exhibited.

We were way to angry to enjoy it. I am usually as docile as a Hindu cow content to block traffic in Agra, and my friend successfully offered to pay the bill to quell my rather noticeable frustration.

Attitude reset, we toured the museum’s collection.

Dangling garden

The building is one of the finest in the world.

100,000,000 building

The collection, meanwhile, is underwhelming.

It’s not bad, it’s not mediocre, it’s just underwhelming.

Previous perceptions of the universe are not shattered. Personal philosophy is not challenged. There are no emotional experiences to be had. One’s life struggles are not prompted to be rethought by canvas, photograph, video, or sound.

Being billed as a contemporary art museum, I had been hoping for a pitch black room where audio of a woman screaming would be replayed until an abrupt lighting scheme transformed the room alight with pink–as a reminder of breast cancer awareness–but the strange and the uncomfortable were not even available.

But there was some fun and idiosyncratic displays and the admission charge ($16) is well earned by simply entering the building itself.

The first exhibit that engaged me was appropriate to the curator’s decision to  relate most of the collection to the uniqueness of Miami–it is called “cocaine paraphernalia.”

What could be more Miami than this exhibit: "cocaine paraphernalia."

What could be more Miami than this exhibit: “cocaine paraphernalia.”

My favorite piece was a photograph of a lone man standing in an abandoned suburb of  post-Katrina New Orleans holding a sign with the words “A Country Road – a Tree – Evening” which are the opening austere stage directions from Act One of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” In the play, Godot, who represents God, keeps sending a messenger to a pessimistic pair who keep waiting for him day after day while they vaguely know he will never come because he does not exist.   Presumably, the photographer was giving his opinion of when FEMA aid would come to this particular New Orleans neighborhood.  Creative, brilliant, funny.

Waiting for FEMA in New Orleans

Waiting for FEMA funds in New Orleans

I also enjoyed several Thai-protest sketches from Rirkrit Tiravanija which mostly reminded me of my time in Thailand during the recent political instability.

Mr. Thaksin is not popular among many of the Bangkok middle class and elites.

Mr. Thaksin is not popular among many of the Bangkok middle class and elite.

The World tents to perceive the Thais as polite and peaceful with their protests.

The World tends to perceive the Thais as polite and peaceful with their protests.

I threw this one in as a shout out to my Singapore friends!

I threw this one in as a shout-out to my Singapore friends!

Less intrinsically personal, but curiously engaging works, also abound.

I don't know what it means but I like it. I think I'd call it "purple" to add an enigmatically ambiguous layer of meaning to the work.

I don’t know what it means but I like it. I think I’d call it “purple” to add an enigmatically ambiguous dimension to the work.

I also liked, but failed to understand, other pieces.

painting 2

Something about transportation and art? Questioning the decadence of modern culture borne out of genocide and an ignored collective suffering? Why are the windows of the building with the “do not enter” symbol painted different colors and what does it have to do with a wagon wheel? I don’t know, but I paid attention and took a picture of it.

Longboat houses in Malaysia haphazardly expanding under increasing hardship?

Longboat houses in Malaysia haphazardly expanding under increasing hardship?

Sarah Morris, Le Meridien [Rio], 2012. Collection of Pérez

Sarah Morris, Le Meridien [Rio], 2012. Collection of Pérez

The one artist displayed anyone in the developed world would immediately be able to identify--but there's not much to do after staring at it for thirty seconds, nodding, and moving on to the next work.

The one artist displayed anyone in the developed world would immediately be able to identify–but there’s not much to do after staring at it for thirty seconds, nodding, and moving on to the next work.

Then there were some sculpture installations. I think everyone who toured the museum took special interest in this space module shaped backyard shed.

Exterior of repurposed aluminum space module.

Exterior of repurposed aluminum space module.

Interior of repurposed aluminum space module.

Interior of repurposed aluminum space module.

This more critical piece seemed largely ignored.

A brief, and unpleasent, history of colonialism

A brief, and unpleasent, history of colonialism

Equally subtle was this artist/sculptor’s opinion of Miami politics:

hmmm. . . not a pleased voter.

hmmm. . . not a pleased voter.

The museum’s premiere exhibit was Leonor Antunes’ “a [sic] secluded and pleasant land. in [sic] this land I wish to dwell.”

I haven't read it yet, but I did take one of the two-thousand word brochures explaining the exhibit.

I haven’t read it yet, but I did take one of the two-thousand word brochures explaining the exhibit.

I will try to return to The Perez when they schedule some  performance art in its uniquely designed two-tiered stage theater which separates the first and second floor galleries.

The  seating is as aesthetically amazing as it is pragmatically uncomfortable.

The seating is as aesthetically amazing as it is pragmatically uncomfortable.

But I may wait a while.

In 2016 the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science will open adjacent to the Perez and promises to be one of the great and elaborate science museums of the world. It is intended to rival the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

When that opens the adjacent-bayside should fulfill its promised epithet of “Front Porch of south Florida.”

If only there were people. . .

If only there were more people. . .

Let’s also maybe get some food trucks and street performers out there.

In the meantime, if you are a foreign tourist only visiting for three days, your time might be more enjoyably spent strolling and swimming on South Beach, shopping at the nearby Bayside Marketplace, partying in Coral Gables, treating yourself to high tea at the Biltmore, vaporizing into Collins Avenue, or looking at lawfully naked beautiful people at Haulover Park.

Miami will eventually be one of the world’s cultural epicenters, but it isn’t there yet.  It is still, however, one of the most agreeable travel destinations in the Americas.

Logistics

Perez Art Museum Miami
Museum Park at 1103 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

Closed Mondays, 10AM – 6PM Tuesday-Sunday; open until 9PM on Thursday.

Adults $16
Discounted admission $12
Active duty military and children under 6 are admitted free.

The museum can be easily reached by public transport, take the metromover to “Museum Park” station. Have lunch one stop further at Bayside Marketplace. If the food court doesn’t appeal to you, consider the spectacular Argentine steakhouse buffet at the provocatively titled “The Knife.”

Allow two hours for a thorough viewing of the collection, or six hours, if you wish to eat at the museum.

In either case, bring money.

 

Why it’s Important to Support President-designate Thrasher

After the shuttle dropped us off at Doak Campbell Stadium, it was time for pictures with the Seminole cheerleaders! Living the dream, though, perhaps not my own.

After President Barron’s shuttle dropped us off at Doak Campbell Stadium, it was time for pictures with the Seminole cheerleaders! Living the dream, though, perhaps not my own.

To my fellow Seminoles:

Some of us supported Mr. Thrasher’s hard-fought endeavor to be the next President of Florida State University. To those, it is appropriate to acknowledge congratulations and our allegiance to FSU.

To those, including myself, who are disappointed in the duly appointed Board of Trustees’ decision, many warned of a potentially consequential academic brain-drain and drop in FSU’s reputation as a deeply committed Carnegie One Research University.

The decision having been made, it is time for us to come together to prevent such dire predictions.  

Some have expressed their discontent with promises to discontinue alumni donations, to cause the enterprises or research foundations they helm to withhold grants, and most seriously, a few, among them some of the great scientists on Earth, have suggested that they will resign research and teaching positions at the Florida State University we all love.

Well, that’s not very helpful.

Please, don’t do that.

I will borrow the farsighted argument of David Cameron on the eve of what was the potential Scot succession:

John Thrasher will not be here forever.

The current roster of the Board of Trustees will not be here forever.

Rick Scott will not be here forever.

Even the Koch Brothers, will not be here forever.

Until a meteor hits us at just the right angle, the predicted next ice-age sets in, or leaders with a worrying overconfidence in a better afterlife press the button mutually assuring our destruction, the future of our institution and its Voltaire garden of works must continue to be cultivated–even under challenging economic and political circumstances.

This is because:

Thanks to FSU’s advances in cancer research, such as Taxol, a world with children suffering from cancer does not have to be forever.

Opposite the spectrum of human development, recent discoveries from FSU’s Bienkiewicz Laboratory give us hope that our coexistence with Alzheimer’s Disease does not have to be forever.

If FSU researcher Albrecht-Schmitt’s work with “californium” is repeatedly replicated through peer review, radioactive waste, does not even have to be forever.

Disagreement with the majority of a thirteen-person committee is insufficient cause to jeopardize our role in our university’s future accomplishments and continued academic leadership in the world.

Moreover, the John Thrashers of the world, the science-deniers, the pray-the-gay away folks–they may want you to resign from your research and teaching positions. They may want to promptly replace you with people arguing the “other side” of climate change, evolution, tobacco’s role in cancer, sexual equality, and other celestial teapots. They may want you to “go gentle into that good night.”

Your resignation may merely be misidentified as surrender to those who appreciate and understand you most–your supporters, your students, your colleagues who cite your works, those whose livelihoods depend upon your grants and lab budgets, and the segments of our society who do not wish to be drowned under rising sea levels.

It is understandable that you may yearn to succumb to the serene siren’s song that the world isn’t fair and doesn’t appreciate your tireless effort–many of you have suffered divorce and alienation in your quest for knowledge helpful to a seemingly apathetic and unappreciative universe. Consider, however, explaining to a kid with cancer that you suspended your research while looking for employment and funding elsewhere because politics plays too much of a role in Florida’s higher education–you may find an unsympathetic audience.

You chose and endured great hardship to be public intellectuals, and you therefore voluntarily chose to be responsible as scientists, philosophers, artists, and academicians to “rage against the dying of the light” in a world where science-deniers, the nihilists, and wealthy special interests occasionally win the day at the ballot box.

The community needs you to fulfill that responsibility now more than ever.

Some of you have tenure–he cannot make you leave; only you have that power–don’t cede it.

To consider changing where you live and where you work just because the titular head disagrees with you is to give him far more power than he, or his supporters, actually have or deserve.

The faculty, TAs, and students collectively have more actual power to determine the direction of FSU than a single human being–whatever the net-worth of his supporters and whatever his title.

Meanwhile, he has offered to fundraise a billion dollars in one hundred days.

Enthusiastically support him in this endeavor–then spend every dollar of it producing peer reviewed experiments and empirical research to prove his and the Koch brother’s ideas wrong.

If you are feeling particularly charitable, consider giving him a chance. Wait for him to make actual objective mistakes while sincerely working with him to help succeed in bettering FSU before demanding his tarring and feathering. It is possible he wants to pour all of his energy into making this school be the best it can be on its own terms and that he is able to divorce his personal opinions from the process–he wouldn’t be the first political leader to do such in search of a legacy.

The only other remedy is to go get the pitch forks while others rally the village people and see if that makes him more likely to listen to your grant proposals and objections.

In my limited experience in life, this strategy rarely works.

Whatever you do, please don’t give up. Continue to donate; continue your support–FSU is bigger than one man and it is bigger than all of us. It is an idea of intellectually honest cooperation to further the sciences, the humanities, and the observable truth.

Don’t let our transient disagreement with the transient Board of Trustees in its choice of a transient leader distract from the accomplishment and promising future of a 150 plus year Carnegie One Research University and its hundreds of thousands alumni and the hundreds of millions who have, knowingly or not, benefited from its discoveries.

The decision of who shall be FSU’s next President is done.

Please join me in offering full support to FSU’s Seventeenth President-designate, the Honorable John Thrasher.

If his actual job performance suggests such allegiance is unwarranted, I have confidence that we will respond appropriately.

In the meantime, one of FSU’s greatest strengths and defense mechanisms is its sense of humor. I chose to go to FSU for the same reasons I chose to be amongst most people and institutions I associate with–because of a demonstrable lighthearted humor, cooperation,   and kindness.

So, say now, why are all the Environmental Science textbooks at Strozier Library now in the “fiction” section?

Of course, they won’t be. (But it’s still okay to make a joke here and there.)

Remember, “the fun never stops.

Respectfully,

Richard Junnier, Esq.

President, Junnier Law, P.A.
Immediate Past Chair of the Leon County Democratic Party

From November 2012 through January 2013, Richard served as a member of a White House Work Group assembled to successfully discuss and organize grassroots opposition to the Sequester, the Fiscal Cliff, and federal debt default.

From November 2012 through January 2013, Richard served as a member of a White House Work Group assembled to successfully discuss and organize grassroots opposition to the Sequester, the Fiscal Cliff, and federal debt default.

My Comment to the FSU Board of Trustees on their Potential Appointment of a Creationist President

Junnier Law, P.A., Richard Junnier, Esq.

Junnier Law, P.A., Richard Junnier, Esq.

September 17, 2014

Dear Honorable Florida State University Board of Trustees:

I believe it is wholly inappropriate to appoint an individual who neither believes in evolution nor climate change President of a Carnegie One Research University.

Today, FSU is known for being on the cutting edge of cancer research, hosting a Nobel Laureate who helms the world’s largest electromagnet, and, ironically, producing a meteorology program that is one of the world leaders at studying climate change.

I fear that if Mr. Thrasher is appointed–virtually overnight–with the assistance of sensationalist news outlets and blogs, the hyperbole of the Daily Show, a well-deserved sardonic interview aired on the Colbert Report, and being the punchline of a succession of jokes on late night monologues–we will instead be known singularly as the University with a creationist President.

It’ll just be another jab at a state that appears to get nothing right.

Beyond that, there is his temperament to consider.

His conduct during his campus student-faculty discussion evidenced an individual not responsive to questions or criticism. When two students–quite appropriately–laughed at his “I’m not a scientist” answer to a question about the existence of climate change, he threatened to discontinue the proceedings.

That is unlikely the optimal attitude necessary to foster debate and discuss diverse ideas among a group of wily and confidently opinionated faculty and students. When I interview candidates and they threaten to leave the employment interview, as a rule, I move on to the next applicant.

He also obfuscated a series of questions including those as basic as quizzing his knowledge of the scientific method and evolution. A President should be able to offer concise and responsive answers to complicated questions let alone basic ones. It is embarrassing that students and faculty even thought such questions were necessary–but apparently they were.

If Mr. Thrasher is appointed, I easily imagine our university’s top talent will get their CVs in order and high school students interested in science and engineering will look elsewhere for their college education. Sure, he can probably fund raise $1 Billion; but our reputation is worth far more than that.

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) appeared at FSU last night to give a lecture. During the Q&A he was asked about the prospects of potentially having a creationist university president: “Well, I find it heartbreaking.”

I do too.

Respectfully,

Richard Junnier, Esq.
Junnier Law, P.A.

Perez Art Museum Miami Gives Back to its Patrons in a Big Way

Image "borrowed" from http://www.aol.com/article/2014/02/17/fla-artist-smashes-1m-vase-in-miami-museum/20831977/ which discusses a local-Miami artist's expensive and childish publicity stunt in an article titled "Fla. artist smashes $1M vase in Miami museum"

Image “borrowed” from http://www.aol.com/article/2014/02/17/fla-artist-smashes-1m-vase-in-miami-museum/20831977/ which discusses a local-Miami artist’s expensive and childish publicity stunt in an article titled “Fla. artist smashes $1M vase in Miami museum”

Patron members ($2500 a year) of the Perez Art Museum Miami will get an invite to a five day field trip to New Orleans from October 22nd to October 26th.

The trip includes a series of private dinners prepared personally by world renowned chefs, either at their restaurants, or in several cases, at a famous artist’s home. Days are spent touring museums and galleries otherwise closed to the public during the member’s visit, and private collections in the mansions of the super-wealthy. There is also an obligatory visit with a Mardi Gras Indian who will entertain with his “dancing, drumming, and chanting.”

The trip culminates with the “New Orleans For Now” bash which is apparently where “artists, curators, and patrons” gather from around the world in a “cavernous” venue to “wildly” celebrate themselves and their contributions to art and culture.

Cash bar, though.

They also explain that they “literally never hire tour guides” and that the people feeding and leading you around town are “peer-level hosts” and admonishes any attempts at offering pecuniary gratuity.

I don’t know whether to be violently envious or outraged by such naked decadence.

I choose to be both.

So, dear friends who are patron members of the Perez Art Museum Miami, please take me with you. It will be your contribution to the irony of the New Orleans art scene.

The full and flashy itinerary can be in equal parts admired/denounced here.

To learn more about the Perez Art Museum Miami, visit here.

To read the claim that the painting below represents the architecture of Rio de Janeiro, visit here.

Sarah Morris, Le Meridien [Rio], 2012. Collection of Pérez

Sarah Morris, Le Meridien [Rio], 2012. Collection of Pérez