Miami Herald by Glenn Garvin
January 13, 2018 07:00 PM
Updated January 14, 2018 02:00 PM
Perpetual South Florida political gadfly Fane Lozman has an odd effect on people. When he appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court five years ago, the justices were so intrigued by his arguments that his houseboat was a house and not a boat that they ended up arguing about whether the poor wooden puppet-boy Pinocchio was really a boat while he was traveling the ocean after being strategically swallowed by a hungry whale. (Definitive ruling: No! Lozman won, too.) Chief Justice John Roberts later said Lozman’s lawsuit was “my favorite case from the past term.”
On the other hand, there’s former Riviera Beach City Commissioner Elizabeth Wade, who when she was in office threatened “to put my foot so far up his behind that he would think my toe is his tonsil.” (Though she added that she wasn’t unreasonable about it: “I ain’t going to pay nobody to kill him.”)
Wade also called Lozman “agitating” and “aggravating,” one of a host of words beginning with the letter A — including arrogant, antagonistic and another one that refers to the business end of the digestive system — that have been employed by various city officials around South Florida to describe him over the years.
The Supreme Court will get a second opportunity to offer an opinion next month when it considers another case brought by Lozman: a lawsuit alleging that when Riviera Beach officials had him kicked out of a city commission meeting and arrested 11 years ago, they were using the criminal justice system for payback against a critic who annoyed them.
Even if Lozman, 56, loses this time around, just getting his case before the justices is a remarkable achievement: Nobody can remember an individual plaintiff — a regular guy, not an institution — advancing two unrelated cases to the Supreme Court. [READ MORE]