Michael Mayo has been a metro columnist for the Sun Sentinel since 2002. He joined the Sun Sentinel in 1989 as a sports writer. Brooklyn- ...

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Michael Mayo

Michael Mayo

Sun Sentinel Columnist

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Mayo: Aspiring racer Staropoli refocuses on med school, for now

Mayo: Aspiring racer Staropoli refocuses on med school, for now

February 1, 2015

Patrick Staropoli thought he would start 2015 with an agonizing decision: Quit medical school or give up his dream of becoming a NASCAR driver.

  • Mayo: Medical pot on horizon, but relief still drags

    January 28, 2015

    It's all well and good that a sweeping new medical marijuana bill (SB 528) has been filed for the upcoming legislative session by a powerful Republican state senator from St. Petersburg, Jeff Brandes.

  • Mayo: What costs $29.99 to $438? Same darn pills

    January 26, 2015

    How could a product sell for $438 in one store and $29.99 a few blocks away? It's a mystery that retired dentist Robert Fradkin is still trying to figure out.

  • Mayo: Gov. Scott stumbles again

    January 25, 2015

    When the history of 21st century Florida is written, one of the great mysteries will be Gov. Rick Scott. As in: How did this guy get elected twice?

  • Mayo: No charges, little info and many questions after off-duty shooting

    January 21, 2015

    This much we know about Palm Beach Sheriff's Deputy Shatara K. Shatara: He's still collecting a paycheck. And he hasn't been arrested.

  • Mayo: In praise of an honest (ex-) judge

    January 21, 2015

    Gisele Pollack is human, and she has battled alcoholism, and for that she is paying with her job.

  • Uber and solar power threaten old giants in new Age of Disruption

    January 18, 2015

    If you could get rooftop solar panels at no upfront cost from an alternative energy provider and pay for the electricity produced, would you? If you could buy solar power from your landlord, condo association or neighbor, would you?

  • Mayo: Trump's airport noise woes trumped

    January 14, 2015

    So billionaire Donald Trump thinks he has it tough because planes taking off from Palm Beach International Airport have the audacity to fly over his highfalutin' Mar-a-Lago club? The Donald has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County for "attacking Mar-a-Lago from the air," as his attorney wrote in the complaint.

  • Mayo: Grampa and Udell - Two peas in a sweet pod

    January 12, 2015

    When Monroe Udell, the founder of Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour in Dania Beach, died last June at 86, the staff of Grampa's Bakery Restaurant across the street took the store keys and set up Jaxson's for a reception following his funeral.

  • Mayo: Before we pay for fracking, FPL keeps spinning

    January 9, 2015

    Forget Flicker Plunder & Loot. I've got a new nickname for FPL: Feelings Pierced Lightly.

  • Gay wedding rush fueled by love - and anxiety

    January 7, 2015

    They flocked to courthouses to show love and devotion to their partners, but some couples who took part in the historic first day of same-sex weddings across South Florida also did so out of nagging fear.

  • Mayo: Will 2015 be peachy keen?

    January 2, 2015

    Happy New Year! If ever a year looked "meh" on paper, 2015 is it. No big elections, just endless talk about the 2016 election. No Olympics, just the Women's World Cup in Canada. And the two biggest celebrations on tap are Gov. Rick Scott's second inauguration in Tallahassee on Tuesday (Woo!) and the 100th anniversary of Broward County's incorporation in October (Hoo!).

  • Mayo: From pot to Scott, another year of highs and lows in Florida

    December 29, 2014

    In a parking garage outside his Fort Lauderdale office, Florida's only legal pot smoker lit up a fat joint. For more than 30 years, Irvin Rosenfeld has gotten marijuana from the federal government as part of an experimental program. He just learned a medical marijuana initiative was approved to appear on the November ballot.

  • Mayo: Expect confusion on gay-marriage front

    December 26, 2014

    Will same-sex marriage be allowed throughout Florida on Jan. 6, or will it be limited to the male couple from rural Washington County who brought a federal lawsuit? Will some county clerks issue marriage licenses to gays while others don't, fearful of possible prosecution under state law that remains on the books? Will there be consistency among Florida's 67 counties, or a hodgepodge that leads to gay couples flocking to certain places for quickie weddings?

  • Mayo: Jeb Bush and family talk turkey - and presidential hopes - over Thanksgiving

    December 20, 2014

    "Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday…We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football. We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations…I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."

  • Citizens shrinks, quickly and sneakily

    December 12, 2014

    My request seemed simple enough.

  • Mayo: Uber drivers say Broward, taxis can't win

    December 10, 2014

    She doesn't consider herself a techie, revolutionary or visionary: "I'm just a single mom trying to put food on my table."

  • Mayo: Time to scrap city invocations

    December 10, 2014

    Invocations at city meetings have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but to my agnostic mind they're unnecessary and divisive. Some people get upset if a preacher prays in Jesus' name. Some people get upset by the mere presence of a Muslim praising Allah. Some people get upset that religion is injected into government business at all.

  • Mayo: Let us pray (or not) to survive holidays

    December 8, 2014

    'Tis the season … to get ticked off over holiday displays. Whether it's gaudy, over-the-top lights-and-music shows at private homes that have neighbors bemoaning crowds, noise and traffic, or irreverent Festivus poles in the public square, it seems there's something to irk everyone in this supposed time of goodwill, peace and cheer.

  • Mayo: Broken jail bond system needs fixing

    December 5, 2014

    You would think a repeat violent criminal who finished his latest lengthy prison term this year would have to appear before a living, breathing judge to be freed from jail if he was arrested again.

  • Mayo: Write-in games cost some voters their voice

    December 3, 2014

    What do you do for a bizarre election that's been part legal battle, part marathon and part circus?

  • Mayo: A jolt of reality for FPL

    November 28, 2014

    Florida Power & Light Co. is wonderful. I know this because I watch TV, and I keep seeing ads from my favorite electric monopoly proclaiming how wonderful it is. Bills are falling and clean-energy initiatives are rising, FPL keeps saying. Buy enough advertising time, and people eventually believe you.

  • Mayo: Reasons to be thankful, South Florida style

    November 26, 2014

    Reasons to be grateful, 2014 edition:

  • Homeowners struggle with insurance confusion

    November 24, 2014

    So you've received a notice that a private insurer is soon set to take over your policy from state-run Citizens. Now what?

  • Mayo: Obamacare Year 2 - Bugs gone, but more bumps ahead

    November 21, 2014

    Here we go again: Time for the second round of Obamacare health insurance enrollment.

  • Mayo: Citizens customer laughs at offer she can refuse

    November 19, 2014

    Like me, Doreen Trembley of Boynton Beach recently received a letter that her policy with state-run Citizens Property Insurance will be taken over by a private insurer next month unless she declines the offer by returning an "opt-out" form.

  • Mayo: Do homeless have same rights as rest of us?

    November 19, 2014

    On Fort Lauderdale beach earlier this week, next to the parking lot where 90-year-old Arnold Abbott has conducted his weekly feedings for the past 23 years, three homeless men eyed the rows upon rows of picnic tables and barbecue grills that stretched along the sand. On weekends, the tables are filled with people cooking out and feeding family and friends — without restrictions.

  • A practical guide to insurance crapshoot

    November 16, 2014

    It can be easily mistaken for junk mail and tossed into the garbage, a thin envelope from an insurance company that's not your own.

  • Mayo: My journey as witness in repeat DUI offender's latest case

    November 12, 2014

    You're driving along Alligator Alley on a Sunday afternoon when you see a pickup truck ahead swerving dangerously. It's not a one-time shimmy caused by texting or fiddling with the stereo. These are repeated, prolonged bursts of reckless driving; long stretches on the shoulder, followed by sudden zigzagging between lanes.

  • One more battle for World War II veteran

    November 10, 2014

    Ted Conover has always prided himself on his toughness and independence. At 17, during World War II, his parents let him sign up for the Navy, and he fought in the Pacific. An avid sailor and woodcarver, he once built his own boat. Well into his 80s, he'd mow the lawn and trim the hedges at his Fort Lauderdale home.

  • Mayo: Feeding the homeless shouldn't be a crime

    November 7, 2014

    The prospect of jail time won't stop Arnold Abbott from feeding the homeless.

  • Mayo: 'Hope and change' now 'Mope and cringe' for Dems

    November 5, 2014

    Sorting out winners and losers after election night in Palm Beach County:

  • Mayo: 'Hope and change' now 'Mope and Cringe' for Dems

    November 5, 2014

    Sorting out winners and losers after election night in Broward:

  • Mayo: From pot to bonds, something for everyone this Election Day

    November 3, 2014

    Election Day is here. Thank goodness.

  • Five years on, Rothstein's Ponzi still resonates

    October 31, 2014

    My idea was simple. Talk to a range of people impacted by Scott Rothstein's Ponzi scheme — and his high-powered law firm's implosion five years ago — and ask them to sum up their lives since November 1, 2009, the day Rothstein's $1.4 billion fraud went public.

  • Ironies won't quit in prostitution saga

    October 30, 2014

    So, did you hear the one about the prostitution scandal investigator who's been undone by a prostitution scandal?

  • Scary thought: Two Floridas better than one

    October 26, 2014

    If there can be a North Dakota and South Dakota, why not a North Florida and South Florida?

  • If you're a Goodman juror, stop reading this now!

    October 22, 2014

    News item: May 2013. Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath throws out polo mogul John Goodman's 2012 DUI manslaughter conviction, citing juror misconduct. Juror Dennis DeMartin conducted drinking experiment before deliberations to re-create Goodman's alcohol intake, also failed to disclose ex-wife's DUI arrest during pre-trial questioning.

  • Mayo: Given Broward schools' rocky past, is $800 million bond measure too bold?

    October 22, 2014

    If Broward voters reject the school district's $800 million bond referendum, will Superintendent Robert Runcie take it as a personal repudiation — and will it mean his days are numbered?

  • Sorting out money for kids on Broward ballot

    October 20, 2014

    Broward voters face two ballot questions that pull on purse strings and heartstrings — measures to tap property taxes for the sake of children.

  • One voter's guide to proposed Florida amendments

    October 19, 2014

    The question I used to hear the most was, "Do you miss sports?" But it's been nearly 13 years since I've covered a Dolphins game (thank goodness), so the question I hear most now is, "What the heck do these amendments mean?"

  • Blocked from debate, Wyllie finds room at the (Holiday) inn

    October 15, 2014

    Libertarian Adrian Wyllie got shut out from the governor's debate at Broward College on Wednesday, so he went to a Holiday Inn Express instead.

  • Mayo: Tallying up winners and losers, 10 years after slots vote

    October 13, 2014

    Slot machines arrived late and left early at Dania Jai Alai.

  • March to gay equality goes on, but Bondi right to fight

    October 10, 2014

    This is going to sound strange coming from me, but … Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is right. Even though, ultimately, she is dead wrong.

  • Have some fear, Election Month is here

    October 8, 2014

    When Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told me that voters already have been dropping off completed absentee ballots at her office, I came to a grim realization.

  • Have some fear, Election Month is here

    October 8, 2014

    As 162,482 absentee ballots were loaded onto mail trucks at the Broward Supervisor of Elections warehouse in Lauderhill the other day, I came to a grim realization.

  • Digging deeper into tunnel, U-turn mess at airport

    October 6, 2014

    The new south runway opened on time at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last month, but those annoying U.S. 1 U-turns for some airport motorists are stuck in a holding pattern.

  • Mayo: Beating the fun out of school, one test at a time

    October 3, 2014

    You hear about testing mania swallowing our kids — 1,500 different standardized exams in the Broward school district alone — and it's almost too abstract to comprehend, like the national debt. But when you boil it down to just one third-grade class, it becomes digestible.

  • Mayo: Will new DUI trial allow John Goodman one final escape from deadly night?

    October 1, 2014

    Here we go again. Take Two for John Goodman's DUI manslaughter trial. This time we get a traveling circus to start, with a road trip to Tampa to select jurors next week. (I hear the wine cellar at Bern's Steak House is top notch; here's hoping Goodman has his chauffeur on duty). Then the circus returns to West Palm Beach for the trial, with the imported jurors sequestered in a hotel.

  • How to overcome a felony conviction and run for office

    September 27, 2014

    There's a new frontrunner for my 2014 Chutzpah Award — one race for which James Ridgely III is still certainly eligible.

  • As new coastal developments keep rising, a sinking feeling for South Florida

    September 24, 2014

    Huge crowds marched in New York City last weekend to raise awareness of climate change and rising seas, but in South Florida our blissful ignorance toward the future marches onward (and upward).

  • Broward Children's Services Council fights for survival

    September 22, 2014

    Will Broward voters seize the opportunity to cut their property tax bills, even if it means killing a worthwhile entity that helps children and families of all backgrounds?

  • New airport runway brings 'vroom' with a view

    September 20, 2014

    She didn't want this noisy new neighbor, but Lynne Favrot went out to greet it anyway on Thursday evening.

  • More new twists in Melissa Lewis murder case

    September 17, 2014

    Tony Villegas' long-delayed trial for the 2008 murder of Scott Rothstein law firm partner Melissa Lewis has been set for Dec. 1, and the intriguing case that seems worthy of a John Grisham novel now has another new wrinkle.

  • After too many election games, it's time to re-write write-in laws

    September 15, 2014

    If you just landed from Mars and tried to figure out Florida's confusing election rules, your head (and antennae) would probably explode. Municipal and school board races are non-partisan, while county commissioners and Broward officers like sheriff and elections supervisor run on party lines. All voters get to cast ballots in nonpartisan races, but some voters effectively get shut out of partisan races because of the presence of a nebulous species known as "the write-in candidate."

  • A rapid-fire look at Goodman retrial, governor's race, gay marriage

    September 13, 2014

    Catching up on some recent headlines while cleaning out my notebook (and joke book)…

  • World turmoil, new ISIS terror threat make hard day harder

    September 10, 2014

    Ingrid Jaffe said she wanted to go to New York for the Sept. 11 ceremonies at Ground Zero today, but friends talked her out of it.

  • A homeowner's guide to upcoming insurance upheaval

    September 8, 2014

    If you're among the 241,892 homeowners, condo dwellers and businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties insured by state-run Citizens Property Insurance, brace yourself for major upheaval and confusion. There's about to be some dizzying change, all part of Tallahassee's plan to shrink Citizens and shift more policies to the private market.

  • It's time for Legislature to prevent more charter school debacles

    September 7, 2014

    OK class, time for a pop quiz. If you want to open a charter school — a privately run school that gets public money — which of the following will you need to get approval?

  • An inhumane end to a life devoted to humanity

    September 3, 2014

    Steven Sotloff ventured off to dangerous lands to bear witness.

  • Ugly cash fight over disabled man's $10 million win

    August 30, 2014

    Who would sue a brain-damaged man whose life was ruined when a speeding cop plowed into his car 16 years ago? His former law and PR firms, naturally.

  • August election postmortem – Yawn if you voted

    August 27, 2014

    Sorting out Tuesday's Palm Beach County election results:

  • August election postmortem — Yawn if you voted

    August 27, 2014

    Sorting out Tuesday's Broward election results:

  • My election prediction: Apathy in a runaway

    August 25, 2014

    After 14 years in South Florida, Ed Lattery became a U.S. citizen in April. He'll vote for the first time Tuesday, and although he's not exactly excited about the choices or races, he considers it his duty.

  • After Robin Williams' death, a chance to spotlight suicide prevention

    August 24, 2014

    Jackie Rosen is a mother who knows all about the pain of suicide, channeling her son's death nearly three decades ago into something constructive — a Weston-based outreach and educational group called The Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention (FISP).

  • The ABCs of a new school year in Broward

    August 20, 2014

    Good morning, parents. Welcome to another exciting school year at the Common Sense Academy.

  • To pick Broward judges, try a dartboard

    August 18, 2014

    Most voters wouldn't recognize a Broward judge if they fell over one. Or, given recent embarrassing events involving our judiciary, if one fell over them.

  • Crist flirts with arrogance in debut as Democrat

    August 10, 2014

    She's a 72-year-old Jewish grandmother from Weston, and she wants to be Florida's next governor. She doesn't have money for TV ads, just mailers and robo-calls. Last week, in front of a small Delray Beach crowd that looked a lot like her – mostly women, mostly older, mostly white – lifelong Democrat Nan Rich made her case.

  • Primary election draws near — does anyone care?

    August 6, 2014

    In case you haven't been paying attention, an election is almost upon us.

  • Primary election draws near — does anyone care?

    August 6, 2014

    In case you haven't been paying attention, an election is almost upon us.

  • What does it take for bad bus drivers to get fired?

    December 18, 2013

    If other jobs had the same laughable level of accountability as Broward County bus drivers, the world would be a much scarier place.

  • Fort Lauderdale stockbroker 'living proof' medical marijuana works

    December 14, 2013

    Irvin Rosenfeld is Florida's only legal pot smoker. His marijuana provider? The federal government. Since 1982, as part of an experimental drug program, Rosenfeld has received a monthly tin with 300 fat joints – about nine ounces – grown by the feds on a farm at the University of Mississippi.

  • Arrogant Dolphins lose $4.8 million bet on stadium rehab effort

    May 6, 2013

    The Miami Dolphins gambled big — and lost — that they could rush a complicated political effort to get public funding for their private stadium renovation.

  • Mother of Scott Rothstein's daughter: 'He left us high and dry'

    February 6, 2010

    The letter from Scott Rothstein arrived a few weeks ago, just before he pleaded guilty in federal court to running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

  • Picking on the carcass of Rothstein's fallen firm

    January 23, 2010

    A prominent Miami builder, a Broward circuit judge and the daughter of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles were among the winning bidders who hauled off relics of Scott Rothstein's collapsed law firm at a bankruptcy auction held Saturday.

  • Badge of dishonor: Hollywood script gets harder to believe

    July 31, 2009

    If these were criminals planning a heist, we'd be ridiculing their stupidity and brazenness. After all, who cooks up crimes on audiotape?

  • Is Tri-Rail taking us for a ride?

    June 3, 2009

    As we waited for the 1 p.m. northbound train at the Fort Lauderdale Airport station Wednesday, Marvin Melvin told me how close he was to breaking his Tri-Rail habit.

  • Senator Crist? 'People's governor' pulls a fast one

    May 13, 2009

    You can just imagine the campaign zingers coming soon from Charlie Crist's opponents:

  • Mayor's antics detract from valid issues raised

    July 19, 2007

    Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle has turned out to be a prophet. Many members of the local gay community aren't very happy at the moment. But their grumpiness has nothing to do with their sexuality. It has everything to do with the flippant ignorance of the man who's supposed to be a leader.A few weeks ago, Naugle made an off-handed remark to my colleague Brittany Wallman that he doesn't call homosexuals "gay" because most "aren't happy." A group of protesters came to City Hall on Tuesday and demanded an apology.

  • Mayor ought to get his mind out of the outhouse

    July 10, 2007

    The toilet roll arrived in the mail at Fort Lauderdale City Hall on Monday, its first sheet inscribed with the message: "His Honor -Jim Naugel [sic]. From a very happy homosexual professional & voter. Bye! Steve."Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, who loves saying outrageous things for maximum effect, has stepped in it again.

  • Spectator fee would put Air & Sea Show on solid ground

    March 4, 2004

    I've always had mixed feelings about the Air & Sea Show. On the one hand, I'm not a big fan of war weapon fetishism. On the other, watching those military jets swoop down so low and loud that the afterburners rattle your beer, warm your cheeks and drown out the whoops of 100,000 neighbors on the beach is just plain cool.

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