Tamper Tantrum

Last month, Nellhaus was a contestant on the IFC's Ultimate Film Fanatic, which pits film freaks against each other in a battle of geekitude, for which the winner earns the dubious bragging rights of being the UFF. The program's hosts and judges include former porn star Traci Lords, blaxploitation pioneer Richard Roundtree (John Shaft!), and a Silent Bob-less Jason Mewes. Unfortunately for Nellhaus, the episode on which he is to appear is scheduled to air August 20, a few days after Atlantic is supposed to stop carrying the channel.

Nellhaus says he did well in the trivia round of the show, when he correctly named the first X-rated animated film (Fritz the Cat). But he flubbed the debate section, in which he argued that the Stanley Kubrick version of Lolita was better than its successor. How did he lose that one? "I was debating against a guy who was younger and cuter than me," he theorizes, dissing the panel of judges. "When we got back to the green room we could tell somebody was smoking." Could it have been Reefer Madness that caused such a crazy decision, The Bitch wondered? "Could be," he allowed. "Could be."

A rep at the cable company, which also provides Internet service to much of Florida, e-mailed The Bitch with the following explanation for the service disruption: "We r dum we dont no how 2 do stuf cuz we are 2 stupd LOL!" The Bitch jests. Actually the channel is being dropped because Atlantic Broadband and the IFC have been unable to agree on a distribution deal.

For his part, Nellhaus says this episode is "making me more seriously consider getting Dish or DirecTV."

Coalition of the Extremely Obnoxious

The Personal Watercraft Industry Association (yes, there is such a thing) launches a campaign today at JetSki of Miami at 3800 NW 27th Ave. (protest, anybody?) to reintroduce personal watercraft to Biscayne National Park. Considering that this area is surrounded by open water, what sense of entitlement gives these idiots the idea they should be allowed to befoul the park, too?

Unhomed and Unheard

Residents of Little Haiti's Keystone Mobile Home Park, forced to find new housing after the City of Miami purchased the land, are struggling to relocate, according to a local housing activist. Karolyn Stuart, of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), says many of the park's tenants don't have the money for deposits on new apartments. "Many of them are leaving their mobile homes behind because, over the years, they've become permanent structures," Stuart says. "We've tried to meet with different officials about trying to get some help for these people, but no one wants to pay any attention to us."

Among the city officials Stuart tried to talk to on behalf of the park's 100 families: Commissioner Art Teele ("He didn't respond to our letter, and he hasn't returned any of our calls to his office"), Mayor Manny Diaz ("He never returned numerous phone calls or letters, and someone from his office just told us: öIt's not a city issue'"), and city manager Joe Arriola ("His assistant is getting us an appointment for sometime this month, but a lot of people are already in trouble -- they're being evicted, and the whole park has to be cleared by September 16").

Popularity Contest

On his campaign Website, corporate attorney Andres Rivero promises voters he will bring intelligence and integrity to the Miami-Dade County Commission. Touting his experience as a former federal prosecutor, Rivero promises to root out corruption and cronyism at county hall if he is elected on August 31. Rivero is vying against former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, erstwhile Miami City Manager Carlos Gimenez,and four other fringe candidates in the contest to replace County Commissioner Jimmy Morales, who is running for county mayor.

In an effort to boost his "reformer" image, Rivero has been bashing Gimenez for accepting campaign contributions from high-profile lobbyists and county contractors. Indeed Gimenez has smoked his opponents in the fundraising department, amassing a $138,297 war chest, according to campaign finance reports. Gimenez's nascent political machine comes courtesy of lobbyists such as Rodney Barreto, Courtney Cunningham, Eli Feinberg, Eston "Dusty" Melton, and Brian May and their spouses. Each of them contributed a $250 donation, the maximum allowed by law, to Gimenez. In a brazen display of campaign bundling, twelve members of the Munilla family, a Miami clan which owns a construction company that regularly wins county contracts, donated a combined $3000 to Gimenez. "It's pretty clear where all the special-interest money is going to in this race," says Rivero, who has raised $68,049 and has qualified for $50,000 in public campaign financing. "What the people need is a former prosecutor who will stand up to the special interests who control county hall."

Before Rivero moves on to his next stump speech, The Bitch reminds him of his recent history as a hired gun for some very well-connected businesspeople. Rivero represented Marilyn J. Parker, a former county contractor who admitted to bribing Miami-Dade's ex-airport construction chief, Richard Mendez, in 2002. Parker got three years' probation, and she had to repay the county $145,000.

Rivero was also the attorney for Miami Airport Duty Free Joint Venture, a minority firm that performed no work, yet was paid $14.6 million from a county airport contract, according to the Miami-Dade Inspector General. The minority venture's principals include Sergio Pino, a major Republican Party fundraiser and tract-home builder, and Jorge de Cardenas, a long-time lobbyist and political strategist who served a year in prison for his involvement in the Operation Greenpalm kickback scheme.

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