There is little doubt that losing in 1994 made Jeb Bush a better candidate for governor in 1998. It also may have made him a better person. Bush worked hard this past year to broaden his appeal to the people of Florida, reaching out to black voters and listening to their concerns. He also tempered his rhetoric, talking less about hot-button social issues such as abortion and school prayer, and concentrated instead on education and criminal justice. Needless to say, the voters responded. Bush's victory over Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay was resounding, and the early days of his administration have shown promise. Bush always said he left Texas and came to Miami in the Eighties to make a name for himself and to create his own opportunities. He's done that. Now it's time to see what he'll do with them.
It's been five years since county commissioners, in a politically charged vote, selected Armando Vidal as their county manager over Cynthia Curry. At the time Curry was seen as the big loser. What a difference five years can make. Today the county is racked by scandals and mismanagement. Commissioners have been arrested, department heads indicted, and Vidal, fired by the mayor who helped install him in the first place, is now working for the City of Hialeah. And Curry? Well, she is doing just fine, thank you. She came through the county manager selection process with her dignity intact and left the county to become a vice-president for business and finance at Florida International University. She was tapped by the governor to serve on the Financial Emergency Oversight Board keeping an eye on the City of Miami. She led the county's successful effort to have a portion of Miami-Dade designated as an empowerment zone, making it eligible for tens of millions of dollars in state and federal aid. And earlier this year the 43-year-old Curry left FIU to open a company with her husband, CWC & Associates, which will pursue business opportunities in South Florida. "I'm at that maturation point in my career where I need to do this," Curry recently told the Herald. "I've always wanted to be ultimately responsible, and this does it."
She's 36 years old, has been a staff sports writer with Miami's Only Daily since 1983 and a columnist for the past five years. Her columns touch on all sports, at all levels of competition, and are marked by a directness and clarity of thought often lacking not only in the sports pages but throughout the paper's other sections as well. Four times she's been honored by having her work appear in the prestigious annual anthology The Best American Sports Writing, most recently in 1998 for a compelling article on the life of tennis star Venus Williams. Robertson deftly zeroed in on Williams's father:

"After declaring that 'any father who lets his daughter turn pro at fourteen should be shot,' he entered fourteen-year-old Venus in her first pro tournament just before the Women's Tennis Association raised the age of eligibility. Although he says, 'I'm holding the reins tight until she's eighteen,' he insists Venus made the decision to go pro herself.

"He preached the importance of education and a normal life for his kids while pulling them out of school and enrolling them in a tennis academy in Florida. He criticized controlling parents while supervising everything from Venus's forehand to her interviews to her trademark beaded-cornrow hair style. He lambasted parents for 'prostituting their daughters' by turning them into marketing commodities, then negotiated the contract with Reebok, rumored to be worth two million dollars."

One more sample, this from an article on Mike Tyson's reinstatement to boxing:

"We cannot resist a peek into the lives of our national bad boys, lives seemingly dictated by uncontrollable urges and self-destructive searches for risk. During Smut Summer '98 we watched President Clinton and Tyson squirm on TV, read about Clinton's grand-jury testimony and Tyson's psychiatric tests, and found out that the president and the former heavyweight champion weren't really two of the strongest men in the world.

"Those were illusions we can live without. The antihero is harder to revere, but easier to forgive.

"Tyson read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment in jail. He figures he has paid his price. Everyone deserves a second chance. Okay, maybe a third or fourth.

"But in Tyson's case, when will we stop counting?"

The NationsBank Tower (née CenTrust Tower) is a beacon in the Miami-Dade night if ever there was one. It also illuminates a dark episode in U.S. banking history. Each evening just after sundown, the 47-story skyscraper reflects a diaphanous color du noir that ranges from orange, aqua, red, light green, and dark green to purple, pink, and white. But from where do those mesmerizing hues emanate? Dozens of powerful floodlights placed atop adjacent buildings and Metromover lines. The lofty polyhedron, designed by international architectural star I.M. Pei, was completed in 1985 and now serves as a geographic point of reference for disoriented tourists, new arrivals, and long-time residents alike. But it also hearkens back to one of Miami's most notorious moral compass problems. The bright idea for developing the lighting scheme was that of banker and CenTrust executive David Paul, whose company built the tower. Unfortunately a federal court found Paul's dealings to be less-than-glowing, and convicted him for using $3.1 million dollars of the bank's funds as his own. Paul began an eleven-year prison sentence in January 1995. The enlightened man who engineered the building's distinctive glow is Douglas Leigh, who also devised the bulbwork for the top of the Empire State Building in New York.
In this town where a party is something that takes place in a nightclub, organized by a professional event planner, the spontaneous spook show on Lincoln Road is wonderfully refreshing. Drawn by little more than the fact that the pedestrian walkway is an ace spot to see and be seen, the crowds gather. Women strut in full Brazilian carnival regalia, a harness of feathers spreading over the entire width of the sidewalk. Men in Louis XV period costumes -- powdered wigs, lace cuffs, and all -- bow gracefully. Tourists gawk. No one organizes this. There is no guest list or velvet rope. You won't be asked to pay for the privilege of observing. This is an egalitarian pleasure. And the feeling of brotherhood spreads quickly. With so many conversation-starters ("Where on earth did you get that sequined codpiece?"), talk among strangers is easy. Next thing you know, rounds of drinks are bought. But alas, we fear these may be the waning days. The new multiplex and the intrusion of chain stores may make the Road less hospitable to the creative spirits who gather here on All Hallow's Eve.

Best Ten-Round Fight For Women's Rights

Roxcy Bolton

Did you hear the one about the genteel Southern woman who kicked some old-boy-network butt? Roxcy Bolton has been delivering punch lines like this for decades. Her intrepid spirit and quick thinking have brought about momentous changes in the arena of women's rights in Miami. Some women work to break the glass ceiling, the systemic barriers women face in rising to traditionally male positions of power and prestige. Roxcy Bolton, true to her agricultural upbringing, was busy breaking ground, the hard, untended ground of feminism in South Florida in the late Sixties, making strides for women's basic human rights over the years by advocating, among many other things, a rape treatment center, the Equal Rights Amendment, and the right of women to nurse their babies in public. In 1996, 30 years after becoming the first Floridian to join the National Organization for Women, Bolton was inducted into Miami's Centennial Hall of Fame. Her latest groundbreaking event? The opening of the Women's Park History Gallery on March 7, 1999 (for International Women's Day). The Women's Park at West Flagler and 103rd Court, which Bolton founded, is the first of its kind in the nation. After suffering a stroke and a heart attack this past year, the 72-year-old Bolton is finally giving herself a well-deserved rest. But you can bet she'll be on the frontlines should a war between the sexes break out.
Lobbyist Chris Korge is a master ventriloquist. Just look at his most recent performance before the Miami-Dade County Commission. One of Korge's clients, BellSouth, wanted to sneak through an extension to their lucrative pay-telephone contract with the county. So Korge tapped one of his favorite dummies, Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, to make the motion. While watching Barreiro "speak" in favor of the extension, most people in the audience could barely see Korge's lips moving. Ultimately the maneuver failed, but we understand Korge is undeterred. He's working on a new act. This time he's going to drink a glass of water while making Barreiro "talk." Good luck, Chris. It won't be long before Vegas beckons you and your little buddy to open for Wayne Newton.
On May 14, 1998 the environmental conscience of South Florida passed from the scene. Marjory Stoneman Douglas died five weeks after her 108th birthday. Although she wrote eight books (including an autobiography) during her long life, it was her 1947 classic, The Everglades: River of Grass, that helped elevate her from writer to icon. Douglas is rightly compared with Rachel Carson, another environmental visionary whose 1962 exposé, Silent Spring, alerted the public to ecological folly. Douglas's tenacity, eloquence, passion, and yes, longevity, gave the Everglades a champion of unique authority. Those who contemplate an eight-billion-dollar Everglades restoration project would do well to heed her insistence that the area is best helped by removing canals and levees, not by constructing more of them. Despite blindness in her later years, the Coconut Grove matron never lost sight of one simple fact: Our own survival and that of the Everglades are inextricably bound.
Wasn't it Nietzsche who posed this existential conundrum: "Why wash it? It'll just get dirty again." If this is your philosophy, chances are you're not too keen on paying someone to polish your clunker. But even a die-hard nihilist could be swayed by the talents of the Supershine crew. For $10.95 they'll perform the automotive equivalent of a baptism. It begins with the hand wash. Then the vacuuming and wiping down of the interior, where they attend to nooks and crannies you haven't even managed to get crumbs in yet. Then on to the detailing, where they make your whitewalls gleam with a liquid silicone concoction. By the time they've towel-dried the exterior, you won't recognize your wheels. "You sure clean up good," you'll say. Of course they offer a cheaper outside-only job, and all manner of more deluxe wash and wax services, one of which includes (and we quote) "bug removal." Though the basic in-and-out is the best deal, you might be tempted to pay the extra three bucks just to see how bug removal works. For example, what if you pay for bug removal and don't have any bugs? Or worse -- you don't pay for it and you do have bugs? Do they intentionally ignore the bugs stuck to your car? Work around them? Anyway they're open seven days, they have a clean, cool office with a good selection of magazines and local papers, TV, and free coffee. In half an hour (longer if you hit a line) you're on your way, marveling over your sparkling vehicle.
This is one combustible town. In the past year we've had brushfires and a tanker-truck explosion close highways. We had a bird's-eye view when a welder sent passengers scrambling aboard the cruise ship Ecstasy. We saw an unhappy Hialeah citizen set Raul Martinez's car ablaze, a beach lover torch the faux wooden village behind the Delano Hotel, and a music critic firebomb the Amnesia nightclub just before a Cuban band took the stage. Yet of all the conflagrations to beset this area, none seemed as thrilling as the fire that raged atop that overpriced eyesore on the bay, the American Airlines Arena. As the sun set that November day, people gathered around their television sets to cheer on the blaze. Of course no one hoped for injuries, not to the construction workers and certainly not to the firefighters. But a large segment of the population sincerely wanted to see the thing burn to the ground. We came together as a community on that day.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®