Hollywood City Hall Needs (But Does Not Want) Your Prayers
Asa Boynton has a flair for the dramatic. You sorta have to when you're in the singing telegram biz. But Boynton -- that's him above, as the Hairy Fairy, a favorite character -- can't resist applying his performance art in the political realm. He's one of Hollywood's fiercest rabble rousers, a tireless harasser of ex-Mayor Mara Giulianti. And though she was voted out of office last January, Boynton still sees the same demons haunting City Hall: Developers and their lobbyists who would line their pockets with cash from the public coffers.
So yesterday morning, Boynton, a devout Christian, squeezed a grape into a jar of water. He grabbed a calendar full of quotes from the Book of Psalms. And he remembered to tote his "big iron cross." With that, he headed to City Hall. A section of lawn near the employees' entrance, Boynton decided, would be the perfect place to commence his ceremony. "I knelt down and prayed that every person who walked into City Hall that day would have every fiber of their being permeated by the holy spirit -- and healed," says Boynton. "Then I started pouring the holy water and saying the psalms."
Boynton got some strange looks from city workers until finally a woman exclaimed, "You can't do that!"
Answered Boynton: "Are you inferring that the devil doesn't like the holy water?"
In short order, this bizarre exchange was reported to City Hall security staff and three officers came out to confront him.
Fortunately for Boynton, one of the officers recognized him as a regular at commission meetings, an acquaintance that may have spared Boynton from a more thorough interrogation . As it was, the guards asked Boynton if the show was over.
"I still have a few more psalms to read," he said.
When the South Florida housing bubble burst, few cities caught more flak than Hollywood, which not only had huge condo projects in the hopper, it had paid developers millions in incentives. Millions that weren't spent on city services. This past fall, commissioners had to patch an $8.4 million hole in their budget without mass layoffs. Boynton doesn' t have high hopes that this morning's prayer will be answered. On the other hand, it was worth a shot. Besides, he says, "Nothing else has worked."
-- Thomas Francis