For months, there have been whispers about a possible recall of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos “Tainted Boy” Gimenez, who was put in the county’s top position through the recall of his predecessor Carlos Alvarez.
This week, the firefighter father of one of the young men killed in a boating accident on the Fourth of July said he was going to actually start the process.
My first reaction was where do I sign? I told Captain Jack Garcia to send Ladra 100 petitions. I can get those signed, too.
And, while my heart goes out to him, it’s not just because of the his tragedy. The death of his son certainly gives the recall effort an emotional angle. And Garcia’s grief-stricken drive could give it the fire it needs.
“I’m not a bullshit guy. I’m not a politician,” Garcia told Ladra. “I realize this is a David and Goliath situation, but we all know how that panned out.”
Especially since this David only needs about 50,000 signatures or so. Let’s say 60,000. We got 114,000 against Alvarez, if I recall correctly. I think Gimenez will be easier, even without a benefactor like car mogul Norman Braman behind the effort. After all there are about 20,000 employees or so — excluding the top tier of six-figure executives — and their immediate families to start with. That could be your quota right there. You might not even need to go after the signature of voters at the polls in November, but you could probably double your number there.
“This guy has burned every bridge he ever built. Even Chip Iglesias bailed on him,” Garcia said, referring to the mayor’s longtime right hand man and confidante who resigned recently to take a job with a lobbying firm. “They’re bailing on him every day.”
There is widespread support for a recall on Gimenez.”We like the idea,” said PBA President John Rivera. With the police department alone, we got nearly 6,000 employees, retirees and their family members who will not just sign but go out and collect signatures. Volunteer petitioners.
“Hes’ not going to govern under threat of recall,” the mayor’s spokesman, Michael Hernandez, told CBS4, which broke the story. “He feels he has done what is in the best interest of the county.”
Yeah, like not funding the fire boat to spite the union, despite pleas from the community in the wake of the tragedy, is in the best interest of the community. That is just the latest in a long list of reasons that make this mayor much more recallable than the last one ever was.
Gimenez decimated the police department, threatened to shut down libraries, cut out fire rescue paramedic services, made the 29th floor a paradise for lobbyists and special interests, gave away the farm to the Miami Heat for the arena deal, gave away millions of our tax dollars to Miami Dolphins’ billionaire owner Stephen Ross to make improvements to his privately-owned stadium, gives millions more to cruise companies and art galleries, refused to respect to the 64% vote of the people on the Pet’s Trust Initiative, awarded a $4 million contract to the company that hired his son, had countless of bid protests and problems due to the undue influence of his friends and what else? Oh, yeah, took a much-needed vacation to Paris and Rome, where he saw the Pope with his favorite lobbyists Jorge Luis Lopez.
Prohibido Callarse host Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera baptized him Carlos II, like the second king of the county, and it has stuck.
The former mayor was recalled for giving his cronies raises and the Miami Marlins stadium boondoggle. But since Gimenez was elected, he’s had a far bigger dirty laundry list of sins committed on the public. The fireboat es el colmo ya, but like I said, people had been whispering about a recall campaign for months.
And for any politicians who may want to run against him in 2016, it would certainly be easier to run in an off year after he is recalled by a low turnout of motivated voters than it would be to beat the incumbent arrogant tyrant with millions of dollars in a presidential year election.
But let’s say the recall is a given. Then what? Might we not end up with Carlos III.
There needs to be a parallel campaign to repeal the strong mayor form of government. Gimenez would be expected to campaign against a recall, and use his million dollar PAC and the deep pockets of all those in his friends and family plan that benefit from him being in charge.
But how could he, the onetime “great reformer” on the dais, fight a grassroots movement to put a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the strong mayor? Especially since he has advocated for that himself — of course, when he wasn’t mayor — as commissioner on the charter review committee and later on the 2011 campaign trail.-
“The way he viewed it then is that you run the risk of electing the kind of person who wouldn’t move the county forward,” Hernandez told Ladra. “Back then, he didn’t believe in putting that kind of power into one person.”
Reminds me of a recurring Mel Brooks line in History of the World Part I: “It’s good to be the king.”
Y ahora? What made Gimenez change his mind? Hernandez (and this is why he answers rather than the mayor) couldn’t say exactly even if he had changed his mind. He said that Gimenez had cut top staff and divided functions to five deputy mayors. “It’s a cost savings because we aren’t paying George Burgess and 13 assistant managers,” he said, referring to the former county manager, “and we’re not paying the deputy mayors anywhere near as much as we were paying him.”
“Voters had their voice heard and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the strong mayor initiative. The mayor is proceeding with the path that the voters wanted,” Hernandez said.
“This is the form of government we have now,” he added.
Well, for now maybe.
Because after speaking to many community activists and the stakeholders — librarians, union leaders and just people like Ladra who are can’t believe they fell for it and voted for him the first time — there’s as much or more support for the repeal of the strong mayor measure than there is for a recall.
And Gimenez would be hard pressed to fight this campaign with is vast PAC funds. Not only because he’s advocated for the very same thing. But also because it just doesn’t look good for him to go all out on such a movement. It would be perceived as a king trying to protect his kingdom — which would immediately provide the recall campaign with fodder for mailers and robocalls.
Ladra believes we that the voters will want to end not just this tyranny, but all future tyrannies.
We should recall both the mayor and the strong mayor, Mr. Garcia. Call me.