Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24: Sniglets On Hollywood and Oil Spill; Pembroke Pines and Sunshine; Marlins and Noise

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Until recently, the biggest noise from most of Hollywood concerning the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the lack of noise. The biggest news has come from the success of the cleanup machine actor-director Kevin Costner developed many years ago.

The thousands of people along the Gulf whose jobs have been lost, livelihoods upset and so forth need help with rent, groceries, medical and insurance expenses and soon, clothing and school supplies for kids.

Where are you, Mr. Clooney? Mr. Pitt? Mr. Hanks? Where are your telethon-organizing skills?


Is "sunshine" just that yellow ball in the sky that the Pembroke Pines City Commission sees on the way into its offices at the corner of Pines Boulevard and Palm Avenue?

Evidently. Because commissioners forgot that in Florida, they have to mix "sunshine" with another word - "law."

The Sunshine Law requires open meetings. That didn't happen May 24, when commissioners conferred with City Manager Charles Dodge in a meeting away from the public and press about a plan to outsource 200 jobs. After an outcry by both public and press, and a deal with the city's unions, commissioners reversed themselves and scrapped the outsourcing plan.

Commissioner Angelo Castillo told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that commissioners "handled this in a totally legal manner from start to finish," and that they were allowed to meet behind closed doors since there was no vote taken.

Try again, Commissioner. State law says you're supposed to meet in the open when "official acts are to be taken." That doesn't have to mean there's a vote.

It does mean the city I live in needs to improve its conduct of business in the open - by actually doing so in the open.


The outcry over the firing of Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez has managed to top the noise of those ridiculous vuvuzelas that helped cost the team last Saturday's game.

I was one of those who thought that it was only a matter of time before the trigger got pulled on Gonzalez, even though he's not to blame for a shoddy bullpen, not entirely to blame for sporadic hitting (though hitting coach Jim Presley was also sacked), and certainly not to blame for ownership that's too cheap to truly invest in this team.

Jeffrey Loria, the guy responsible for firing Gonzalez, Presley and bench coach Carlos Tosca (and presumably the guy who signed off on the vuvuzelas), may now be looking to Bobby Valentine. Yikes.

If it was only about won-loss record, Valentine, whose New York Mets went to the World Series in 2000 and who won a championship in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines, wouldn't be a bad choice. Unfortunately, Valentine has showboat tendencies; it's hard to forget his pseudo-Groucho disguise after an ejection from a game in 1999. And he didn't always have smooth relationships with his players in New York. One wonders if he would discipline Hanley Ramirez in the same way Gonzalez did a few weeks ago when Ramirez loafed on a play.

Another manager, Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves, criticized Loria for the revolving door he has had in the manager's office. It's not expected to stop anytime soon, sadly.

One wonders whether, despite the skillful work of Larry Beinfest, Dan Jennings and Mike Hill in getting impressive young talent for the team, the Marlins can ever again shine as they did in 1997 and 2003 (a team mostly put together by previous GM Dave Dombrowski) as long as penny-pinching Loria owns the team.

Team President David Samson keeps talking about the team ending up "in a pile." They're there, all right.