Rudy for Prez!

Giuliani agrees with Miami: Screw the public.

Rudy for Prez!

Filed under: Politics

Miamians need a president who represents their values, who sees the world the way they do. For that reason, Riptide endorses Rudolph Giuliani. More than any other candidate, Giuliani understands and exemplifies the principles we hold dearest.

Friendship: Giuliani came under fire over his longtime bodyguard, business partner, friend, and former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in November on 16 counts of tax fraud, including charges he received more than $200,000 in renovations from a business seeking to work for the city. Kerik is also under investigation for allegedly accepting gifts from New Jersey contractors on Giuliani's watch. Rudy has defended his former chief's integrity to the last. With Miami's own John Timoney in trouble for allegedly accepting a free Lexus, we could use a president who knows how to stand by a friend in need.

Freedom of Expression: In these proud moments, Miami told the world what it thinks about the First Amendment: when the Miami-Dade County school board voted to remove the book Vamos a Cuba from schools; when Timoney led some 2,500 officers against people who had dared to stage a legal protest at the FTAA talks; when angry elderly men dropped their pro-Luis Posada Carriles signs and ran across the street to attack a small group of counter-protesters on Calle Ocho.

Fortunately Giuliani agrees with us: Screw the public. He has tried to ban controversial works of art, prevented taxi drivers from assembling to protest, refused to issue permits for anti-police brutality marches, and ordered that ads attacking him be removed from buses.

Fiscal Responsibility: Rudy Giuliani understands the public's money must be looked after closely. What better way than to spend it yourself? When he was conducting an extramarital affair with Judith Nathan (to whom he's now married), Hizzoner spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars for security to protect him during his love jaunts, billing obscure city agencies for the costs. Following a year when 14 City of Miami employees were found to be operating a private firm out of city hall, and millions of dollars in money earmarked to relieve poverty were handed over to developer Dennis Stackhouse to build a biotech park that remains an empty lot, Miami deserves a president who understands that when you open up public funds to scrutiny, you just make trouble for everybody.

He may be a New York man, but Rudy thinks like one of us. — Isaiah Thompson


Watching the Watchdog

Filed under: News

When you have a beef with Miami-Dade's top public corruption prosecutor, who do you go to? In Laurance Costanzo's case, you complain to the Florida Bar, which is now investigating his allegations that Assistant State Attorney Joseph Centorino doesn't want to prosecute Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Rudolph "Rudy" Crew, Schools Police Chief Gerald Darling, and district bureaucrat Rhonda Vangates for their alleged role in covering up the Northwestern Senior High School sex scandal that rocked the district last year.

Costanzo, a former schools consultant, criticized the handling of the investigation into accusations that the school's former star running back, Antwain Easterling, had sex with a 14-year-old girl. During a school board meeting, Costanzo accused Vangates, then-district director of investigations, of helping cover up the sexual misconduct allegations.

Centorino blew off Costanzo's accusations, claiming the latter is upset that Vangates wasn't prosecuted for assaulting him outside a school board meeting last February 14. "His complaint has no merit," Centorino said.

Video surveillance footage shows Vangates rushing up to Costanzo after the meeting and jabbing her finger at his face before other school employees pull her away. Costanzo later claimed she told him: "I'm going to fucking get you." She denied cursing.

Costanzo complained to the schools police department and the state attorney's public corruption division. In May, Centorino declined to pursue charges against Vangates, saying the footage was inconclusive.

"The statement of Mr. Costanzo indicated that he was not in fear at any time during the incident," Centorino wrote. "Fear and threat by word or act are essential elements of the crime of assault."

Unsatisfied with Centorino's conclusion, Costanzo went to the Florida Bar. This past December 17, bar counsel Arne Vanstrum wrote to Costanzo: "Your inquiry concerning the conduct of [Centorino] has been analyzed and has been determined to be a matter which warrants further investigation."

Vanstrum said Centorino will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint before the bar decides if it should take action against the veteran prosecutor. "On its face, the complaint alleges some impropriety," Vanstrum said. "Obviously that could be a problem." — Francisco Alvarado


Lemons from Clemens

Filed under: Sports

Whether Roger Clemens illegally juiced or not — the onetime National Baseball Hall of Fame lock denies it — his story doesn't quite add up.

So says former Florida Marlins and Cincinnati Reds athletic trainer Larry Starr, who was interviewed four times by Mitchell Report investigators, but gets no mention in the report because he refused to name names.

The 61-year-old Starr, now the assistant athletic director at Nova Southeastern University, spent three decades working as a Major League trainer and saw the steroid problem spread over the years.

Like Rafael Palmiero before him, Clemens claims the shots his personal trainer, Brian McNamee, gave him were lidocaine and B12, the latter of which is used to treat vitamin deficiency and is believed by some to help athletes recover from fatigue faster, Starr says. But the vitamin compound is also thought to work as a masking agent in urine tests for steroids and other PEDs, he adds.

"In the Seventies, B12 was very common in baseball," Starr says. "Players would come to me and say they needed a B12 shot, and I would tell them: 'I don't give shots.'" Lidocaine and injectable B12, it turns out, not only are prescription items, but also "trainers really shouldn't be giving shots unless directed by a team physician or doctor. You are putting a needle in someone; you can hit a nerve or blood vessel."

Starr is skeptical, but stops short of calling Clemens a liar. "With Clemens, it's very sad; he may be the greatest pitcher of all time," he says. "For him to be indicted, it's sad for the game and sad for him and his family." — Tovin Lapan

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