Legislator admits she doesn’t sleep in District 114
State Rep. Daisy Baez announced Friday that she was dropping out of the Democratic primary to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles in District 40. But, maybe Baez should resign from the legislature altogether.
That’s not only because she still lives outside the district — admitting to Ladra on Saturday that she sleeps in District 112 — but also because she quite possibly lied on her voter’s registration form, which would be a third degree felony.
Baez cited her mother’s failing health as the reason why she was withdrawing from the special election to replace Artiles, who resigned after getting caught insulting other legislators in a racially- and sexist-tinged rant.
“My life today is a direct reflection of my mother’s decision to immigrate to this country and work multiple jobs to ensure that I could live the American Dream,” Baez said in a statement sent just after 1 p.m.
“Just after announcing my intention to run for the Florida Senate, my mother’s health deteriorated and it became clear to me that spending time with her now is of utmost importance. As her daughter, caring for her is my number one priority. Therefore, I will not pursue a campaign for the Florida Senate,” she said. “Instead, I will spend the upcoming weeks with my family and continue to use my voice in the Florida House to speak out clearly and forcefully to fight for better jobs, to protect our environment, to ensure we all have access to affordable health care, and to support our public schools.”
That would be the right thing to do. But the news also comes three days after a Miami Herald story exposed the fact that she likely does not live in the district she represents, which explains why Baez was bold enough to think she could run for a Senate District where she doesn’t live. Now we know she’s done it before. And it looks like it took time to sink in. Because that same day the story came out, last Tuesday night, Baez was at a South Dade Democrats Club meeting showing no signs of backing down.
On Friday, it seems, she finally realized that she can’t overcome this development in a race against two veteran politicians with higher name recognition who — bonus — actually live in the district (Annette Taddeo and Ana Rivas Logan).
Which brings us back to why she should resign. Because the voters of House District 114 do not have any representation right now, have not had any representation during this past session. And they deserve some.
Baez apparently let people believe that she had moved from her house on Malaga Avenue (photographed) in District 112, to an apartment on Anderson Road, which is in District 114, right before the election. But the Herald found discrepancies in that. Other people live in the apartment at Anderson and neighbors said that Baez does not live there. Her dogs and campaign staff were at the house on Malaga, which she said was being renovated so she can put it on the market.
It’s more likely that she never moved out of the house where her dogs apparently live. When Ladra spoke to her Saturday afternoon, Baez admitted that she was sleeping at her house, the Malaga house outside the district.
“Right now, I’m sleeping at that house, yes. But I think I don’t want to talk about the situation any more,” she said. “I’m trying to correct the situation. I made an offer on a property today.”
What a coincidence. Today.
Baez said she had always intended to move into the district and said she has documents to show she began the process for a loan in January. But she has not had time between the legislative session and her 92-year-old mother’s health to purchase a new home. “I pretty much left for Tallahasee immediately after I was elected. I’m a normal human being with a million different things to deal with.”
The problem with that is that one of the things she apparently dealt with was trying to fool the public into thinking she lived in the district. When asked multiple times if she ever lived in the Anderson Road apartment, Baez refused to answer but intimated that she had not.
“For the intent of the law, I changed the address,” which sounds to Ladra like she changed it on paper but not in real life. So I asked her again? “When was the last time you slept there?”
“I understand what you are getting at and I’m not going to answer. At this point, I’m focused on getting this corrected and taking care of my mother,” she said.
“Okaaaaaay. Did you ever sleep there even one single night?”
“I understand what you are saying. We are trying to correct that. We feel that we complied with the law at the time,” Baez said. “I’m working fast and furious to correct it. It was not my intention to be outside the law.”
Aha! Outside the law. So, Baez must realize that she may have committed a third degree felony when she filled out a voter’s registration form on Nov. 2, a week before the election, changing her address to the Anderson Road apartment.
Ladra likes Baez. An Army vet and small business owner, she is on the right side of most issues, even if she is in the minority party and no position to do anything about it. Still, her voice is one that is needed on issues of immigration and housing and education and the environment. So that’s why this hurts. She had the best intentions, but the ends do not justify the means. She should do the right thing and quit. She lied to the people who voted for her. She does not represent them. Her blind ambition — the same ambition that caused her to jump to the Senate race after four months — caused her to run in a district that was not her own.
People have to stop doing that! It wasn’t right for Artiles — who was a state rep in 2011 when Ladra discovered him living in Palmetto Bay, outside his district — when he did it, nor for former State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, and it isn’t right for Baez.
And Ladra knows the Dems aren’t going to want her to just give up the seat they just won, but they could lose it in two years anyway if someone uses this against her. And that voice she has is going to be somewhat hampered by the fact that it now comes from someone who tried to pull the wool over the voters eyes.