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Michael Mayo has opinions on everything. That's why, after five years as an award-winning sports columnist, he's ...

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Michael Mayo

Michael Mayo

Sun Sentinel Columnist

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Can state-run Citizens give true Floridians a break?

July 30, 2014

Simple questions sometimes provide great food for thought. Especially when dealing with complex issues, like Florida's windstorm insurance situation and state-run Citizens Property Insurance.

  • From Katz's to Zak's: Deli duel almost done

    July 28, 2014

    The "Katz's Deli" sign was still up on Monday, and so was the Katz's of Deerfield Beach website.

  • For South Florida homeowners, it's a jungle out there

    July 26, 2014

    It was a beautiful summer evening, an afternoon downpour giving way to soft, glowing sun. I jumped into my pool, unwinding with a few lazy laps. I heard a rustle from the bushes. Suddenly, it appeared.

  • Deli commandment: Thou shalt not steal another's name

    July 23, 2014

    When I heard that a new South Florida delicatessen had gotten out of a pickle by agreeing to change its ill-chosen name to settle a copyright infringement suit brought by the legendary Katz's of New York, I had two thoughts:

  • All Aboard Florida tries to fight 'misconceptions'

    July 23, 2014

    The folks from All Aboard Florida wanted to set me on the right track. They were concerned with all the concerns I've been raising recently about the proposed Miami-to-Orlando Airport passenger train service.

  • Major drama as real-life 'Bad Lieutenant' is sentenced

    July 21, 2014

    It's not every day you get courtroom drama as riveting as the stuff on television. But it happened on Monday, when a former top cop in the Broward Sheriff's Office was sentenced to five years in federal prison — and was publicly confronted by the woman whose false arrest he ordered.

  • How do you explain gay marriage to an 8-year-old?

    July 19, 2014

    The march toward marriage equality in Florida took another step last week. Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia properly ruled that 4.8 million voters got it wrong in 2008 with a state constitutional ban on gay marriage that was inherently unconstitutional.

  • Ex-Broward sheriff Lamberti says he broke no laws, didn't know of computer's destruction

    July 16, 2014

    Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti has taken a pounding lately over the revelation that his computer hard drive was destroyed by underlings with a hammer as he was leaving office in January 2013. I got him on the phone for lengthy interviews the past two days to give his side of the story.

  • All Aboard Florida tries to fight big misconceptions

    July 16, 2014

    The folks from All Aboard Florida wanted to set me on the right track. They're about to unveil drawings of their downtown West Palm Beach station – sound the trumpets! – and they were concerned with all the concerns I've been raising recently about the proposed Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail service.

  • Will growing opposition stop rail project in its tracks?

    July 12, 2014

    All aboard, Florida? Not exactly.

  • Dysfunction in Dania Beach reaches critical condition

    July 7, 2014

    Usually I'm proud to call quaint Dania Beach my home. I love the new chocolate crack (I mean crackle) ice cream at Jaxson's, the complimentary pastries at Grampa's, the lobster special at the spiffy new Quarterdeck on the pier.

  • At Hobby Lobby, customers split on Supreme Court decision

    July 6, 2014

    I went to the Hobby Lobby in Davie the other day to get reaction to last week's big Supreme Court ruling involving the family-owned crafts chain. Like our high court justices, shoppers were sharply divided over whether a corporation could exclude benefits from health insurance coverage because of religious beliefs.

  • Your guide to 2014 hurricane season, from A (Arthur) to Z (Zantac)

    July 2, 2014

    With the first storm of 2014 forming off our coast, hurricane season is really here. South Florida hasn't had a direct hurricane hit since Wilma in 2005. Here, as a public disservice, my annual A-to-Z guide:

  • All Aboard Florida might be in for bumpy ride

    July 2, 2014

    Fort Lauderdale resident John Dotto has many concerns about All Aboard Florida, but he's even more alarmed that when he talks to people about the new rail project, he usually gets blank stares.

  • Citizens Insurance full of dark clouds and silver linings

    June 28, 2014

    What's gotten into state-run Citizens Property Insurance? All the news lately has been sunshine and rainbows. Rate cuts have been approved for next year, meaning many South Florida homeowners could actually see insurance bills drop (something rarer than a hurricane). And there's been a delay in the launch of a potentially unpopular "clearinghouse" system for policy renewals.

  • Tea Party sinks to new low with attacks on gay pride attendees

    June 25, 2014

    When I heard some local Tea Party zealots had worked themselves into a frothy lather over a Republican political misstep, I naively assumed it was over the revelation that Gov. Rick Scott had been spotted at a Fort Lauderdale Starbucks sipping a chai tea with soy milk, cinnamon and Truvia.

  • All Aboard Florida on fast track to controversy

    June 25, 2014

    When he hands out pamphlets questioning what All Aboard Florida might do to Delray Beach and other coastal cities in southern Palm Beach County, Alan Schlossberg said the reaction is usually the same.

  • Is it OK for guards to scald an inmate to death?

    June 21, 2014

    It sounds almost too barbaric to believe: A mentally ill inmate locked in a scalding hot shower by prison guards for more than an hour, the man's screams finally stopping when he died.

  • Uber, Lyft poised to upend local taxi scene

    June 18, 2014

    If you don't know what Uber and Lyft are, and why these tech-driven paid "ride-sharing" services are driving fear into the hearts of traditional taxi and limousine companies, here's a quick primer. Remember when people booked trips with travel agents? Then along came the Internet, and Priceline, Travelocity and Expedia. And then it was bye-bye travel agencies.

  • On Father's Day, appreciating a gift that can't be bought

    June 14, 2014

    Dear Natalia,

  • Hurricane tax holiday doesn't blow me away

    May 31, 2014

    Hurricane season is officially here. Long-range forecasters are calling for a tepid storm year, and that means one thing: Run for your lives, the Big One is coming!!!! Seriously, any time all the so-called experts agree on something (remember how the Denver Broncos were a lock in the Super Bowl?), I get nervous. Especially since Florida hasn't had a direct hurricane hit since Wilma in 2005.

  • Shame takes a holiday in high-profile cases

    May 24, 2014

    The concept of shame took a beating last week, with three high-profile criminal cases that made me roll my eyes, spit out my coffee and scream, "Are you kidding me?"

  • Can Broward school board be trusted with another $800 million?

    May 12, 2014

    After a rocky recent past, the Broward School Board wants voters to approve an $800 million bond referendum this November. I'll withhold final judgment for now, but let me clue in superintendent Robert Runcie and board members to the reflexive response I'm hearing in the real world:

  • Bible at schools fine, but prayer at civic meetings thorny

    May 10, 2014

    The uneasy tension between church and state was a hot topic this past week, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sectarian prayers at government meetings are permissible and the Broward School District apologizing after a fifth-grader wasn't allowed to read his Bible during an open reading period.

  • Don't believe Republican rhetoric about shrinking government

    May 5, 2014

    The 2014 legislative session wrapped up last week in Tallahassee with the usual orgy of self-congratulation. The Republicans who control the House, Senate and governor's mansion all praised themselves for their wonderful work, underwhelming as it was.

  • Remembering Lois Cross, who gave richly to the poor

    May 3, 2014

    Lois Cross died the same week that Pope Francis made saints out of two former popes, which is fitting in a way.

  • Will Gov. Scott thwart humane bid for limited medical marijuana?

    April 26, 2014

    Before Florida voters decide the fate of medical marijuana in November, the Legislature might soon legalize a certain strain of medical pot — for kids.

  • After FCAT computer mess, is it time for paper trail?

    April 23, 2014

    Question: After past computer problems with elections and Obamacare, who would have thought that technological glitches would have tripped up Florida's high-stakes FCAT standardized exams?

  • Undaunted by bombs, South Florida runners return to Boston Marathon

    April 19, 2014

    Veteran marathoner Randall "RJ" Simms broke with tradition when he landed in Boston on Friday.

  • Kansas bloodshed hits South Florida Jewish community hard

    April 16, 2014

    When Sipora Groen heard that a gunman killed three people near a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas — reportedly shouting "Heil Hitler" during the attacks — she was saddened and appalled.

  • Two fatal shootings in two weeks bring questions for Palm Beach Sheriff's Office

    April 12, 2014

    In a previous encounter with police, the first thing Tinoris Williams told a responding Palm Beach Sheriff's deputy was that he was "a Martian of the United States," acting on full authority of the constitution. He had just thrown three bricks through the windows of his mother's apartment. The first thing Vickie Williams told the deputy, according to the December 2012 arrest report: "That her son Tinoris needs help."

  • A call for help — and an epic fail — in West Boca

    April 5, 2014

    It happened again. Family members say someone in the midst of a mental health crisis dialed 911 seeking help.

  • It's time to extend Sawgrass Expressway to I-95

    April 2, 2014

    Why does the Sawgrass Expressway end so abruptly — and illogically — before it meets Interstate 95 in Deerfield Beach? Because that's what small-minded political leaders and community obstructionists wanted when the highway was built a generation ago.

  • South Florida sports teams keep lining up for handouts

    March 31, 2014

    In life, there are two certainties: death and taxes. In sports, there are three: winning, losing and begging for public money.

  • Pembroke Pines man living with mental illness fights misconceptions

    March 30, 2014

    Gaylord Cohen wants you to know something: He has mental illness, but that doesn't mean he's dangerous or violent.

  • Lobbying for common sense as Legislature rolls along

    March 26, 2014

    "We have a saying in the Legislature – common sense has no lobbyist," Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Leon, told me a few months ago.

  • Time for Fort Lauderdale to honor late 'Father of Spring Break'

    March 24, 2014

    You might not recognize his name, but surely you know Gregg Newell's legacy.

  • Chilly warning: Free speech might not be hassle free

    March 23, 2014

    Imagine speaking at a city commission meeting on a hot-button topic and then a few weeks later getting a letter from a corporate lawyer that reads: "We intend to examine all of your records, yard signs, notes, surveillance tapes, telephone and cell phone records, letters, emails (including those on private e-mail accounts), social media, documents and writings concerning [our client]…This not only includes paper writing and records but also electronic, taped and computerized writings and images…hard drives, PDAs, laptops, text messages, calendars…and all types of electronic storage media."

  • Homeless honors student goes from car to trucks

    March 19, 2014

    When I first met Duane Harris five years ago, he was an honors student by day and homeless at night. He slept in his 1995 Ford Thunderbird, a picture of his two young daughters taped to the steering wheel.

  • In Tallahassee's warped worldview, weaponry trumps all

    March 15, 2014

    Another year, another round of gun law lunacy in Tallahassee.

  • The frustrating, confusing world of mental illness

    March 8, 2014

    After writing about mental-health crisis training for police last week, I got an outpouring of response from people who've been impacted by mental illness. I mainly heard from frustrated parents who feel like they have no place to turn for their sick sons and daughters.

  • Florida's flush, so why not wipe away toilet paper tax?

    March 5, 2014

    Now that the Legislature is in session for the next two months, it's time to get down to business. For me, that means re-launching my campaign to wipe the toilet paper sales tax off the rolls.

  • Police become first responders in mental-health crisis

    March 2, 2014

    The question was simple: What are some names we call people with mental illness?

  • Tweak, don't ban, red-light cameras

    February 22, 2014

    The debate over red-light cameras is intensifying again, and a pair of Florida legislators have filed bills to ban the cameras. If the repeal bid fails, Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, want to stop the installation of new cameras and cut fines (from $158 to $83) that would eliminate local governments' portion of the revenue.

  • Is expanded gambling really in the cards for 2014?

    February 17, 2014

    When it comes to the hot-button issue of gambling, it's usually a safe bet that the Legislature doesn't do anything too bold or controversial in a big election year. But the early talk from Tallahassee this year has been different.

  • No valedictorians? Imagining a world without No. 1s

    February 15, 2014

    NEWS ITEM: The Broward School Board might soon eliminate awarding the titles valedictorian and salutatorian to the top two high school seniors, citing the nasty competition and undue stress caused by the designations. Instead, the top 15 percent of graduating students would be honored as cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude. The Palm Beach County school board has no plans to stop the tradition.

  • Time for feds to fry bigger fish in Scott Rothstein saga

    February 12, 2014

    Attorney Christina Kitterman became the latest collateral damage in Scott Rothstein's Ponzi scheme, convicted by a jury on three counts of wire fraud Tuesday for impersonating a Florida Bar official on a conference call with investors. But the real story of her trial was Rothstein.

  • Rothstein saga still captivating after all these years

    February 9, 2014

    South Florida has seen plenty of con artists, and America plenty of Ponzi schemes, but there's something about the Scott Rothstein saga still stunning after all these years. Rothstein took the stand last week in the trial of a former law firm underling, and his two-day turn had it all: Greed, power, sex, corruption, politicians, judges, lawyers, cops, hookers, the Mafia.

  • Hurricane Rothstein keeps on blowing

    February 5, 2014

    He came, he testified, he threw a lot of people under the bus.

  • A dumb conversation with a smartphone

    February 4, 2014

    I have a love/hate relationship with technology in general, and smartphones in particular. I love what these gadgets can do. But I hate what they're doing to us — turning us into distracted, mindless freaks, heads perpetually looking down at our palms as we become more impervious to the real world around us.

  • Florida's lone legal pot smoker would love to have company

    February 1, 2014

    Now that the Florida Supreme Court has cleared the way for voters to decide the fate of medical marijuana in November, I called Florida's only legal pot smoker for his toke, uh, I mean take.

  • Why bother with jury duty if you can land in jail?

    January 29, 2014

    The judge wanted to send a message to a rogue juror, so Palm Beach Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath earlier this week shipped Dennis DeMartin to the slammer for four months, followed by two months of house arrest.

  • Boston Marathon duo Carlos and Jeff are America at its resilient best

    January 27, 2014

    One has lost two sons — to war and suicide — in the past decade. The other lost two legs in the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • Will Rothstein saga muddle Tony Villegas murder trial?

    January 25, 2014

    Tony Villegas' long-delayed trial for the murder of Scott Rothstein law firm partner Melissa Lewis has been set for September, and the case has enough intrigue to fill a John Grisham novel. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Villegas, 50, a railroad conductor with no prior criminal history, has pleaded not guilty.

  • 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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