|Sasha Tirador hunting for
clients at a recent meeting.
Who would have thought that the two warring sides in the Hialeah elections could sit down to a cafecito at Chico’s on West 12th Avenue over race relations? Not Ladra.
But that is what happened Saturday afternoon when former councilman and candidate Alex Morales — who is running on an anti-incumbent slate and platform — met with absentee ballot queen Sasha Tirador, who worked for former mayor Julio Robaina‘s failed county mayoral bid and is now on the staff for four of the five incumbents (proving again that councilwoman Vivian Casals-Muñoz has been made an outsider). Both said they had been longtime friends and brushed off the meeting as if it was nothing unusual — even though each said the other had called it.
But Ladra is pacing and growling, anyway.
|Julio Martinez, Raul Martinez and Alex Morales at a
recent city council meeting.
Morales is in an open seat and Tirador said she is helping his last minute challenger, former Housing Authority board member Lourdes Lozano, who everyone knows was planted in the race by the mayor. The professor said she told him at the time that she was not helping Lozano, but he is also running on a slate with former mayor Raul Martinez, former mayor Julio Martinez, former councilwoman Cindy Miel and former police officer and Hialeah Housing Authority official Danny Bolaños. Tirador is representing the incumbents in three of those races: Alcaldito Carlos Hernandez, Council President Isis “Guttermouth Girl” Garcia-Martinez and Councilman Jose Caragol. She says she is also working for Pablito “Huh” Hernandez and “helping” Lozano, who is not an official client, run against Morales, her “old friend,” and force him into a runoff. She says she is not representing gun dealer and permit-smirker Tony Vega in the challenge against Casals-Muñoz, where Bolaños is running. “I will not represent Tony Vega. At least, I don’t think so.” But Ladra doesn’t believe that she is going to work on everybody in the incumbent slate except Vega? We think Tirador is out to get Vivian (more on that later) and that Vega and Hernandez are becoming allies before our very eyes and, so, I can’t help but think that Tirador will be collecting iffy absentee ballots for Vega, too.
One of the reasons I believe she is working, or advocating, for Vega is because one of the anonymous facebook profiles that have been attacking Bolaños and Martinez — and, most recently, me — sent me a personal message late last night with inside details about the cafecito meeting. “The conversation was really intimate of a classified nature… cozy and honest,” wrote “Ernesto Mirabal,” which is not the real user of the facebook page that used to be known as Hialeah First. It is the name of the man that Martinez had a physical altercation with on the Palmetto Expressway some years ago, an episode we will come back to later since it will become part of the smear campaign. The anonymous author (read: Vega or one of his campaigners) wrote that Morales had tried to distance himself from Bolaños, who had the weakest showing of the Back to the Future campaign slate in the firefighters’ poll. “Even the signs are distanced and never on the same pole. He thinks the only ones that can win are Frank Lago and him out of his whole slate. Even Raul is not where he wants to be. Food for thought. Ask him.”
Always a skeptic, Ladra did ask. Even though Lago is not on the slate — not yet, anyway. Both he and “Daring” Daisy Castellanos were at the grand opening of the Martinez/Morales/Bolaños campaign office Sunday afternoon and Martinez mentioned both candidates’ names in his platform speech.
Morales, who would never say that Martinez is not in the lead (c’mon, he is a very smart guy) and has consistently told me to watch as every incumbent is unseated in November, said he said no such thing. But he really didn’t have to. He’s not stupid, after all. He is the professor for something. And while he may have been dismayed early on by the numbers in that poll, Morales has been supporting Bolaños for months and says his momentum has increased tremendously. They’ve walked together and put up signs together. Many of their signs are posted side by side on fences and in yards. “I have put Danny’s signs up and he’s put up my signs. I have put my signs together with his. We have made the decision to support each other.” Besides, he knew that Tirador called him with some ruse about housing authority campaign rules so she could try to get some intel on the strength of the bonds between the slate mates. “She was there to obtain information on our slate and how committed we are. And I told her we were very committed,” Morales said. Tirador confirmed that. “Alex Morales made it very clear that he was supporting Danny,” she said.
But Tirador also told Ladra they met so the professor could get her professional assessment. “I have known Alex Morales since I was 14 and I’m 37. He was asking me for advice,” she said. I had to ask: Advice about what? “That’s a private matter between Alex and I. I’ve never had any issues with Alex Morales. Why shouldn’t I talk with him? We were jut picking each others brains.” It was so cordial, in fact, they walked over to Morales’ parents’ bakery in the same shopping strip and he gave her a tres leches.
“I met with Alex Morales because there is no reason I shouldn’t meet with Alex Morales and it’s not like the first time we are on opposite sides that we meet anyway,” Tirador told me. “Just because you’re on opposite sides doesn’t mean you can’t meet and pick each others’ brains.” Well, wait. Was he asking you for advice or were you picking each other’s brains?
And, yeah, just because you are on opposite sides does kind of mean that you can’t meet to pick each others’ brains. Or you can’t meet and expect everyone to think it was on the up and up. Most people I know would think it was odd. Like Martinez, who does not trust Tirador since she was accused of tampering with absentee ballots during his failed congressional run against Lincoln Diaz-Balart in 2008. (She was investigated, but the case was closed because while there was evidence that tampering occurred, they could not prove it was her doing). Martinez was apparently not happy about the meeting. “I told Alex, ‘Why in the world would you want to meet with that individual? Sometimes, he thinks he’s too smart. I love him, but I want to kill him sometimes,” said Martinez, who will only admit to supporting Morales, Bolanos and the other Martinez “because I want Caragol out of there.” Miel has to try harder if she wants his active support, he said. (More on that later).
But all this proves, Martinez said, is that the incumbent side that Tirador works for is trying to cause a rift or break within the Back to the Future cast. And, Ladra said, it proves that Martinez is not always completely in control of his crew.