Mayors can't remember honoring guru

"I don't know who sent [the proclamation request]. It was a request that came in along with the dozens of others we got."
Mayor Art Anon Hallandale

The Miami Herald/January 29, 1984
By Patricia Andrews

Two members of the Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team will peal through South Broward February 13th.

Few will see them because the two plan to stay away from heavily traveled thoroughfares.

Somewhere, though, in the recesses of Hallandale and Hollywood city halls, there are proclamations signed by the cities' mayors, declaring February 13th as Sri Chinmoy's Day.

Neither David Keating of Hollywood nor Art Canon of Hallandale know anything about the obscure group, followers of the Indian guru Sri Chinmoy, spiritual director of the United Nations meditation group [sic].

Keating doesn't remember signing the proclamation; Canon doesn't remember details of the one he signed.

Canon says he gets dozens of request each month for proclamations. He routinely turns them over to a secretary who uses a sample form, generally lifting directly from the request paragraphs for the official document.

Sometimes Keating and Canon bring a request before the City Commission, sometimes not. This time they didn't.

"I don't know who sent it," Canon said. "It was a request that came in along with the dozens of others we get."

Riding 10-speed bicycles, Marci Hurait and Dristi Pliske will bike 600 miles through Florida, from Miami to Tallahassee, beginning February 5th.

They're calling their trip the Sunshine State Joy Ride, covering about 65 miles per day for nine days.

They say they want to salute the state of Florida, promote physical fitness and honor their leader, Sri Chinmoy, who teaches inner truth, peace and contemplation. They also plan to plant a couple of trees for peace, one in Tallahassee and one in Miami.

In addition to the proclamations from Hollywood and Hallandale, the two say they have gotten proclamations from the cities of Miami and Pompano Beach. They asked Boynton Beach officials for one last week, but the mayor refused.

"I don't give proclamations for joy rides honoring meditation teachers," Mayor Jim Warnke said. The group wasn't local or meaningful, he said.

Hallandale doesn't have "any kind of guidelines for issuing proclamations," Canon said. "If it's a legitimate request and something we don't find objectionable, we issue a proclamation."

Proclamations generally don't mean much. They are largely a bureaucratic public-relations tool, Canon said.

"You do these things because they give people a lift to know their mayor is thinking about them, Canon said.

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