The Price of Victory

The Price of Victory
Filed under: Scanner

Let's get this straight: Miami law firm Lydecker, Lee, Behar, Berga & De Zayas, where Mayor Manny Diaz moonlights as a freelance attorney, is not representing City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones pro bono. And there are no billing rate discounts for city commissioners, either. "I worked out a payment arrangement," Spence-Jones allows, "but I can't get into what it is because of client-attorney privilege."

Call it the price of victory. Spence-Jones had to hire lawyers to fight the Florida Elections Commission, which recently found probable cause that the rookie commissioner broke election laws on eight different occasions during her successful campaign last year. Spence-Jones, who appealed the findings, could end up paying as much as $80,000 in fines.

All thanks to Rev. Richard Dunn II, her opponent in the race, who complained to the commission regarding countless misdeeds by the Spence-Jones camp.

During and after the election, Dunn has relentlessly undermined Spence-Jones by painting her as a proxy for Diaz and for her other political mentor, former County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler. "She owes her election to Manny and Barbara," Dunn grouses. "She knows it. They know it. And the entire black community knows it too."

The odd coincidence she is being represented by the same law firm that contracts Diaz only helps illustrate his point, Dunn adds.

"That is just so far from the truth," Spence-Jones retorts. "I met [managing partner] Richard Lydecker while I was still working in the mayor's office. I needed an attorney who could handle political issues, and I remembered Richard's firm did this type of legal work. I didn't have to go to Manny." — Francisco Alvarado

The Fish Whacks Back
Filed under: Flotsam

It sucks to be a sturgeon. People catch, smoke, and eat you. They steal your eggs and call 'em caviar. In Florida you're so overfished and abused that the state terms you a "species of special concern."

But this year the fish whacks back.

"A sturgeon hit a nine-year-old and knocked her unconscious," reports Maj. Bruce Hamlin of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. "An adult had their arm broken, and a guy was knocked off his Jet Ski and could have drowned." Overall the wily creature has recently injured eight people on the Suwannee River in North Florida, Hamlin adds, "and all of these have been pretty serious injuries that could have resulted in death."

Sturgeon can grow up to eight feet in length and weigh about 200 pounds. Unlike snapper or mahi-mahi, they have an exterior bone structure that Hamlin calls "armor-plated." When they hit you, it hurts.

The "strikes," as Hamlin calls them, were particularly dangerous because, until recently, people zoomed (way) down (upon) the Suwannee at speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour. The gulf sturgeon, which spawns upstream in the springtime, jumps up to five feet high.

In the past there have always been one or two such strikes a year. The problem was made worse this year by low water levels. "It limits where you can travel, so your odds of getting it are greater," Hamlin explains.

So a week and a half ago, the state spent $1400 to post signs on the river warning boaters to slow down. There have been no incidents since then.

Press reports of the encounters have been mostly vague and limited to small upstate newspapers. Nine-year-old Cheyenne Russ was knocked off a boat and bloodied in August so badly that she needed three layers of self-dissolving stitches. The cut "missed her jugular vein by a fraction of an inch," according to an article in the High Springs Herald. "It was a big fish. He made me fall in the water," was all the little girl could say. — Chuck Strouse

A Martha with Moxie
Filed under: Culture

Brickell resident Ingrid Hoffmann describes her new TV show Delicioso as Sex and the City meets Martha Stewart.

But in reality, the petite Colombian bears little resemblance to either the ladies of HBO or the ex-con.

Hoffman exudes more passion from her pinkie than Stewart ever has in her more than two decades in the spotlight. And the entertainer seems — on the telephone at least — devoid of Carrie Bradshaw's needy, attention-seeking traits.

She is bubbly, personable, and, without a doubt, a seasoned host, known for her live cooking segments on the nation's highest-rated Spanish morning TV show, Despierta America. Indeed Hoffmann's food and décor show — scheduled to air beginning November 4 on Galavision — will likely draw a following. But considering the host might open a segment "dreaming that she is Wonder Woman (and wearing a Wonder Woman costume)" or "dressed as a welder from Flashdance," it is difficult to determine exactly the target audience.

Taped entirely in Miami-Dade, each 30-minute Delicioso episode ( is centered on a different theme that "enables Ingrid to shop, cook, and entertain with style." Not to mention scour the streets for a man.

"I'm a single girl," she scoffs. "Let's say we go to the fish market. I will educate you on how to pick fresh fish, but maybe I also meet someone. Maybe the next show I call my girlfriends and they tell me if I should invite him over for dinner."

Perhaps the idea of watching a scantily clad Amazon warrior scurry about Miami in search of a man and a meal is someone's idea of stylish and entertaining TV programming. It's not ours. — Joanne Green

Public Wardrobe Adjustment
The young man decided to tuck his junk into his pants while standing under the bright lights of the ATM machine on a busy intersection just off the Julia Tuttle Causeway. He unbuckled his pants, pulled them halfway down his thighs, and then proceeded to shove it all in. Too bad I wasn't standing in line behind him! Maybe I could've swiped my debit card down his crack for cash....
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More Riptide
After New Times published a story about alleged fraud at Wackenhut, the company removed or demoted several employees who spoke up. Read about it here.