My apologies to those of you reading this over breakfast, because today's edition of the Friday files involves thieves, dog poop, strippers and something even more unappetizing: politicians.
Jerks-of-the-month. That award goes to whoever stole the newly installed air-conditioning unit from Harbor House of Central Florida — Orange County's only shelter for victims of domestic violence. Seriously, what kind of heartless miscreant takes something from an agency that can barely make ends meet in trying to help women and children who are victims of violence? (Warning to the culprits: Dante ascribed folks like you to Hell's eighth circle … right next to the hypocritical politicians.) Fortunately, more saintly spirits at Trane and Rinaldi's Air Conditioning agreed to help. If you want to help too, or learn more about Harbor House, go to harborhousefl.com.
Nice town; "ruff" politics. If constant bickering were an Olympic sport, Winter Park would be the perennial gold medalist. The latest news has the city fiercely fighting over where dogs should be allowed. There have been public meetings, e-mail campaigns, name-calling and even a three-page proposed ordinance that deals with "fecal matter." All of it comes to a head at a commission meeting later this month. You know, Winter Park really is an exquisite little town. Maybe some residents should take more time to enjoy it. Come to think of it, there may be some irony in complaints that dogs are the ones responsible for stinking up the place.
Spending like a pro. Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene's latest finance report shows his campaign took in $3,000 — and spent nearly $6 million. Now that's a political newcomer who sounds like he's ready for Washington.
Scott's low blows. Last week, gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott's campaign went after his Republican primary opponent, Bill McCollum, for having previously supported New York City's "pro-homosexual rights" Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The claim was as steeped in distortion as it was intolerance. Suggesting McCollum is gay-friendly is almost as silly as suggesting he is charismatic. The guy is at the forefront of discrimination in this country, leading the charge to take foster children away from loving parents who happen to be gay. Still, several readers wondered what kind of anti-homosexual policies Scott planned to implement. Not surprisingly, Scott's campaign didn't even respond to the question. Cowardice seems to be this debate-ducker's M.O. In fact, when you consider all of his tactics — slimy accusations, divisive strategies and his past involvement in a scandal — this guy who claims to hate career politicians sure seems to be a quick study.
Rail ranting. The Tampa Tribune's editorial board had a few pretty good lines in response to critics who suggested that, if passenger rail were such a good idea, private companies would build it. Wrote the Trib: "Yacht owners didn't build the Intracoastal Waterway. Ship owners didn't build the Port of Tampa. Airlines and airplane owners didn't build Tampa International Airport." Touché. Personally, I have concerns about the success of rail as well. But whenever people start griping about it being a "money-loser," I wonder if these folks have ever managed to find a profit statement for Interstate 4.
Most bizarre celebrity story of the week: Actor John Stamos testifying in a blackmail trial about a visit to Pleasure Island a few years ago. Suddenly, we had a couple of family icons — Disney and Mr. "Full House" himself — mixed up with accusations of strippers, cocaine and underage women. Next thing you know, we'll hear Ernie and Elmo were caught snorting blow down at Green Meadows petting farm.
Scott Maxwell, who hopes Elmo doesn't have a good libel lawyer, can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-6141.Copyright © 2015, CT Now