I have mixed emotions on this day. On the one hand, it's great news that John Canada has been terminated as Southwest Ranches manager, as the council's decision will bring an end to one of the most corrupt fiefdoms in recent South Florida history. And town councilman Jeff Nelson deserves a lot of the credit for that, since he relentlessly investigated his own town (taking up the symbolic mantle left behind by deposed councilman Albert Fisikelli, who was almost heroic in his quest to create a decent government in the Ranches). On the other hand, Canada's utter lack of concern for governmental ethics helped me produce some pretty good journalism.
But the well isn't dry just yet. With Canada's clenched hands off the government's central nervous system, we might finally be able to find out exactly what he's done with all the money. Hopefully we can finally get a full tally of the money paid to Richard Rubin, the husband of Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin, for his grant writing (it's in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars and his wife abetted him). And get a better look at the deals struck by Rubin's ethically challenged buddy Ira Cor, the ex-con who is in the middle of the swampland swindle and received obscene commissions for brokering town land deals. Also we can only hope to obtain a keener view of how prominent attorney Gary Poliakoff has profited.
And finally we can see how Canada, a former finance officer for Broward County, and his family have profited. For years, he was town manager, his wife was the town's bookkeeper, and his daughter the town clerk (yes it was nepotism but the ethics board ruled, wrongly and ridiculously, that because he's part of a private company, ethics rules don't apply to Canada). A recent audit revealed that Canada owed the town $178,000 for taking money for unfilled positions. I don't know what they call that in southwest Broward County, but I call it possible theft.
This should be kind of like searching a sunk ship at the bottom of the ocean. No telling what we might find.
After the jump: Broward Anti-War Group's Guerrilla Tactics and Hillsboro Beach Is Going To Hell
Roberto Santiago writes in the Miami Herald about the Department of Defense admitting that labeling a peaceful Broward anti-war group "subversive" and surveilling it during the Air & Sea Show was a "mistake." A DOD report from the time claimed that the Broward Anti-War Coalition was planning a "large-scale protest" and planned to "counter military recruitment and the 'pro-war' message with 'guerrilla theater and other forms of subversive propaganda."
The "large-scale" protest? Drew 30 people. The guerrilla theater? Handing out a few pamphlets. Peter Ackerman, a protest organizer, said people took the pamphlets "and gave us blank looks."
Thanks for the comedy, Santiago. These guys at the Pentagon obviously don't have enough to do (though you'd think Iraq and Afghanistan would keep them busy).
-- The Sentinel's Susannah Bryan reports this morning on the "hellhole" that is Hillsboro Beach Town Hall. This sounds like the way I handle my own finances and, believe me, that's not a good thing. Definitely worth a read.
-- And finally, in case you missed it, the explosive new IM transcript from the Mark Foley scandal. This is serious shit, people.