The end of 2008 feels like a kick in the balls for Riptide. Our car is about to get repossessed, our credit cards are maxed out, and we've taken up residence in an abandoned home with a bunch of squatters. Such is life in sunny South Florida.
But it's nevertheless the time of year when we gather around our kitchen tables, slather the turkey with cranberry sauce, and tick off our many blessings. In that spirit, we give thanks for:
• Not having to put up with Rudy Crew's insufferable ego anymore. The nationally acclaimed former superintendent spent most of his tenure battling with school board members who didn't agree with his management style. He left behind a district coping with a quarter-billion-dollar budget deficit. His $100 million experiment to turn around failing schools was so ineffective it was scrapped. And hey, Crew gave us Larry Feldman, a retired principal who beat Crew acolyte and school board member Evelyn Greer in recent elections. Thanks, Rudy!
• Miami-Dade voters' refusal to grant pay raises to county commissioners. The unreformable 13 screwed up the half-penny sales tax for mass transit. They also voted for the $3 billion megaplan for a port tunnel, a new Florida Marlins stadium, and other public works crap we don't need.
• Circuit Court Judge Jose Rodriguez's signing off on a $17.1 million settlement with city taxpayers, ending a nearly decade-long legal battle over a controversial fire fee. Roughly 48,000 Miami property owners can look forward to refund checks of a few hundred dollars from the city in the coming months. God knows we need it.