Mayor Mara's Arts Farce

The Sun-Sentinel busted out another hit on Hollywood over the weekend, this time focusing on waste, mismanagement, and possible corruption at the city's Arts Park in Young Circle.

Yeah right. It's all about Mayor Mara.

Giulianti is always the thing in Hollywood, just as a drunken mother is at the heart of a dysfunctional family. In this case, reporter John Holland looked at a million or so of her e-mails and found out she was trying to keep the Arts Park's nearly $15 million in cost overruns out of the public eye.

Here's the beef:

On Oct. 19, 2005, Giulianti ordered spending figures removed from a city-sponsored magazine article and fact sheet promoting the Arts Park. In a memo to Allison Hibbert, the city's public relations officer, Giulianti ordered it rewritten and said, "I don't know why we have to put in how much the project will cost. That may not be a smart move." Hibbert removed the reference.

Giulianti tried to keep the monthly Hollywood Gazette newspaper from running what she and former CRA Director Jim Edwards called a June 2005 "hard news" story about costs overruns. Giulianti sent e-mails and placed phone calls to Editor Meredith Brown saying she was "extremely

disappointed" with the tone and wanted changes. Brown said earlier this month that she never received the e-mails and published the story anyway.

In a May 26, 2005, e-mail exchange with Edwards, Giulianti vowed to keep a "trouble-making" architect -- Cy Paumier, who has designed more than 100 parks worldwide -- from getting city business if he criticized the Arts Park. She also threatened to call other cities to denigrate Paumier, who did the original design of the park but left after repeated clashes with Giulianti, the e-mails show.

That's good stuff, but I want more. (By the way, I'm told that the $70,000 figure for public records paid by the Sun-Sentinel being bandied about is grossly exaggerated, by $68,000 or so). Hey, at least it didn't turn into a puffy, re-hashed profile like the Miami Herald's recent attempt to nail Hollywood lobbyist and Mara chum Alan Koslow did. Obviously, the reporters went in search of a smoking gun and all it found was a wet blanket.

For some serious background on the insider shit on Arts Park and the city, read this Trevor Aaronson special from last year.

--- Oh, and while I'm here. An anonymous source is saying that Sun-Sentinel management has "quietly" been asking some reporters about their willingness to head to Baltimore in case there's a strike at the Tribune-owned Sun. It's unconfirmed, but it's a scab I'd like to pick at a bit.

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