We offer our short list of mayoral hopefuls and Southern Nights shuts its doors

Do we really need to be the ones to say it? OK, fine: Balls to Bill Frederick and his patrician attitude. By generously offering to take the reins at City Hall – no competition, please, because we all know that politicians, especially retired ones, only make naked power grabs out of the kindness of their sclerotic old hearts – Frederick is telling us to stop fretting about handling the messy business of governing ourselves and let the grown-ups do it. It's like your parents telling your kids they're taking over the family while you work out that little DUI problem. Note to Bill: You want another shot, you join the pack and run like everyone else, 'K?

Frankly, we at Happytown™ couldn't be happier that the whole casserole is up in the air. A little chaos is a good thing. What's really sad to see is the same cast of losers (and we mean that literally, of course, as in they didn't win against Buddy) claw their way out of the grave for another bite at the mayoral apple. Please answer the following question honestly. Has anyone ever come up to you in the street and said the following words: "If only Sharon Leichering had won …"

So in the spirit of a rollicking election full of back-stabbing, innuendo, posturing and intrigue – which is to say, real democracy – we've devised a short list of folks we'd like to see run for the mayor's office. May the good Lord bless us with a really down-and-dirty fight.

Patty Sheehan: She's made it perfectly clear she's not running, which is too bad, because how cool would it be to have a full-on out-and-proud mayor running the show? Sheehan is notorious for saying what's on her mind, a refreshing quality in a candidate.

John Butler Book: Only because a debate between him and Sheehan would be the stuff of legend. Too bad he doesn't live in Orlando.

Phil Diamond: Perhaps the best, most competent city commissioner is also the quietest. It's obvious you don't like the limelight, Phil, but if the meek really are going to inherit the earth, they'd better get off their asses and start filing the paperwork.

Tico Perez: Rumor had it that the day Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Dyer, Tico was sitting by the phone, fingers crossed, waiting to be appointed. That didn't happen. But if it had, it would not have been a bad thing. At least Perez has a grounding in city government. Also, he isn't likely to want to sell off OUC.

Glenda Hood: Come on, don't you pine for the Hood old days, just a wee tiny little bit somewhere down deep in your crusty soul? Us neither. Scratch that one.

Daisy Lynum: A more spectacular leader Orlando has rarely known. Is it her stellar grasp of the issues? Her seemingly bottomless empathy? Her firm grip on the ethical tiller of open and honest government? Her disdain for conflicts of interest? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Lynum is nothing if not mayoral material. And please, spare us the allegations that we are making this endorsement simply because commissioners must resign their seats to run for mayor, and are out if they lose. That would be petty and beneath us. Run, Daisy, run!

Betty Wyman: See above.

Tom Levine: He's been off the political radar screen for far too long, and his idea that cops should pull rickshaws is evergreen. Come back and save our city, Tom! Bill Frederick promises not to run if you'll step in.

Let's pause for a moment and consider something not often discussed in polite company: Life in Orlando under a Ken Mulvaney administration. Granted, his chances are slim at this point, but stay with us, people, this is important.

First, assume drinking hours will get longer. That's because Mulvaney is Irish and, well, they drink like Irishmen. Plus he owned a bar and understands that grown-up towns don't shut down at 2 a.m. Dyer understood this too, or at least claimed he did, but he never lifted a finger to do anything about it. We've got to be honest here and admit that Dyer's failure to inject any real oomph into downtown night life feels like a betrayal to a lot of the not-ancient-yet voters who helped put him in office.

Then, Mulvaney will probably put a halt on any new city handouts. New arena? Not likely. We're thinking Rich DeVos is feeling nervous these days.

Also, look for Mayor Mulvaney to make good on his one real campaign promise: making city council meetings truly public-friendly. Dyer was never big on the concept, and it's ultimately what landed him in hot water. Embracing the Sunshine could lead to much slower going, but at least the city would be inching along rather than rushing projects and incentives to fruition without anyone really knowing what's going on.Finally, it would be fun to try and guess what the hell the mayor was talking about, given that Mulvaney can be kinda hard to understand with that thick brogue.

Psssst: Anyone else notice that the Orlando Sentinel's special web page gathering all the stories on the Dyer implosion was, for a while anyway, sponsored by OUC? We're just sayin' …

Enough already about mayoral politics. Let's get back to something that really matters to Happytown™'s core readership: gay night life.

The big gay rumor mill snapped into overdrive March 10 as local institution (and frequent Orlando Weekly Best of Orlando winner) Southern Nights unexpectedly locked its doors. Word is that the bar staff had no idea, showing up for duty only to be forced to prematurely take the walk of shame, which is what we normally do at about sunrise when we come crawling out of that mirrored black hole. Uh, did we just say that?

With the one-a-day bar closure tendencies of Orlando, this may not seem like news. But Southern occupied a particular point in the nomadic gay bar progression, as well as a significant place in Orlando history for some 20 years. And while speculation continues (spin, rumor mill, spin) as to when or if the new owners will reopen the rundown mecca, the pieces are being picked up largely by The Club at Firestone and by high-end newbie Pulse.

Upon hearing the news, we were able to sober ourselves up just long enough to giggle at the fact that Southern Nights used to operate under the name of Evil People. Ha! Another round, please.

Real e-mails from the mayor pro-tem's in-box!

From the desk of Mr. Prowel Kent:

I know this will come to you as a surprise because you do not know me. I am Prowel Kent, I work in the Central Bank of Colombia, packaging and courier department. I want you to help me clear this package that is already in America which I shipped through our CBC accredited courier agent. But the contest of the package is $38,000 all in $100 bills. But the courier company does not know that it is money that I have in the package.

All I want you to do for me now is this: give me your mailing address, your private phone and fax. And I hope that at the end of the day you will have 30 percent and 70 percent will be for me. You should get back to me if this arrangement is OK by you. Other modalities will be discussed as soon as you get back to me.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Prowel Kent

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