Five mayors back Jose “Pepe” Diaz — but not homeboy Orlando Lopez

Five mayors back Jose “Pepe” Diaz — but not homeboy Orlando Lopez
  • Sumo

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz will launch his re-election campaign in Doral Thursday with the mayors of five cities in his district who are supporting his bid.

Doral Mayor Juan Carlos “JC” Bermudez, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, Hialeah Gardens Mayor Yioset De La Cruz, Virginia Gardens Mayor Spencer Deno and Medley Mayor Roberto Martell will host the kick-off and fundraiser for Diaz, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at The Flats Apartments at CityPlace, 3555 NW 83rd Ave., on the 6th floor.

But wait. There are six cities in District 12.

Conspicuously missing from the list is Orlando Lopez, the mayor of Sweetwater, which is where Diaz cut his political teeth as a city commissioner and was then mayor in 1999 before his first run for county office in 2002. There’s some bad blood there. It’s why Diaz tried to get Lopez recalled earlier this year. No invite for him.

Read related story: Sweetwater race results are a loss for Miami-Dade’s Pepe Diaz

Sweetwater has always been a city divided by factions. Diaz, who is aligned with the anti Lopez faction, has said he only supported the recall, which was allegedly a citizen-led effort. But Lopez sued successfully to stop it — the recall was based on his multiple absences from meetings, which is not a requirement of the mayor’s job per city charter — and a consultant working for the political action committee, Providing Effective Government All Residents, admitted in testimony that the first person to contact him about it was the commissioner. It was reported in Diario Las Americas. But other sources have confirmed that Diaz was behind the petition drive.

Diaz also supported candidates against Lopez and the Lopez faction in May’s election, even though he learned that he doesn’t have as much influence as he’d like in his old stomping grounds, where even his brother-in-law, former Commission Chairman Jose Bergouignan, was kicked out of office.

So, there’s bad blood there. In fact, Ladra would be surprised if Lopez doesn’t find someone to run against Diaz, who is more vulnerable than ever because of his DUI arrest in Key West last year? Imagine that mugshot on campaign mail!

Read related story: Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz arrested on DUI in Key West

“Pepe is the one who sponsored the recall effort against me. If there is any candidate that runs against him, I would glaly support and help them,” Lopez told Ladra Wednesday. “I’m hoping somebody comes out of the woodwork.”

But who? The only viable name that people have brought up in recent years is Bermudez — and obviously he is not running for the county seat at least until Diaz terms out. Not if he’s  hosting Thursday. And nobody else has raised their hand. It’s too bad that Doral Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez is running for state rep (more on that later) because she would be a titan against the incumbent.

Diaz has never really been challenged. He coasted into office in 2002 with 85% of the vote against M. Lina Pumariega, whoever that is. Then he was re-elected automatically when nobody filed to run against him in 2006. In 2010, Heather Pernas got 24% with $600 to his $325,550. She obviously did not campaign at all — and still got one out of every four votes.

And then the Pet’s Trust people put someone up against Diaz in 2014 because they felt betrayed. He said he would respect the vote of the people, who approved a massive spay and neuter program for strays by 65% of the vote, and then did nothing when Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ignored the mandate. Marjorie Figueira got 27% of the vote without really any kind of absentee ballot operation or publicity and only $2,093 to his $363,595.

There’s a pattern here.

So we know already that just anybody will automatically get 25% of the vote as a protest against Diaz. Not a bad start. Imagine if the candidate has a little more money. Add to that the Pets Trust supporters and the DUI thing and the fact that the incumbent has been there 16 years and Sweetwater voters se estan cansando de el and you’ve got the best chance to make a change next year on the county commission right there in District 12.

Even with five city mayors behind him.

10 Responses to "Five mayors back Jose “Pepe” Diaz — but not homeboy Orlando Lopez"

  1. Rita Schwartz   November 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Pepe Diaz is LOOKING for a leg to stand on…..and his kick stand!!!!

    • Sam Weinstein   November 17, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Rita, he kicked you around really well in the last election. Were you and your hubby not involved in utilizing your Pet Trust trucks for campaign purposes in violation of county and state laws in that election? Are you not satisfied with the multi million dollar complex animal shelter Diaz helped build in Doral for the benefits of all county citizens not just your trust? The animals in that shelter live better than many homeless citizens we see in the streets of this county. If you have a beef with the county mayor take it up with him or better yet, run for office yourself (again) and give us a platform that has to do with cutting taxes, combatting traffic and misspent public monies. Those are the issues county citizens are interested in hearing from wanna be politicians.

  2. Sharon S.   November 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Considering Pepe’s less than stellar reputation and the opposition of some good people such as Orlando Lopez and especially The Pet’s Trust, this time it just might be possible to spay or neuter Pepe’s re-election.

  3. P. Lima   November 17, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Interesting hit piece by a bunch of malcontents and of course, the mayor of Sweetwater, a less than model citizen and politician.
    Pepe Diaz’s DUI arrest was orchestrated by the Sweetwater Mayor and his cast of ex City of Miami cops in combination with a renegade Key West motorman. Pepe Diaz took his case to trial and he won so get over it.
    The fact that five out of six mayors support him speaks volumes about the good things he has done for the citizens of his district for many years.
    Next time you run across the Sweetwater mayor you may want to ask him about how only a few months ago Commissioner Isolina Maroño was stopped by police in his driveway with a stack of absentee ballots in her possession. You may also want to talk to the Sweetwater mayor’s attorney who was just hit with 18 violations by the Florida bar and very soon will only be able to practice law at street corner cafeterias and his favorite cigar shop.
    If you have a viable candidate to run against Diaz put your money and time behind it and let the best person win. Meanwhile, refrain from playing la gatica Maria Ramos since your ill intentions are obvious.

  4. Jose   November 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    His DUI is irrelevant . His history of being completely self serving as he put in place one city contract after another without bids so that he and his friends sucked our financial blood should be the real concern.

    He is typical, a prime example of the banana republic . Not surprised the banana bunch of Mayors are supporting him as one palm greases the other.

    The calle ocho junta will vote for him as they have blindly done in the past but if younger voters and ”non junta” come out this parasite might finally go away.

    Elections here are the same Cuban parasites going from office to office.

  5. Jose   November 18, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    The guy is a self serving parasite and due to people like him our property tax is insane and zero accountability. .

    This is one of many–

    ” Miami commissioner’s private sector employer gets millions of dollars of contracts from airport- commissioner says “no conflict”

    Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz doesn’t seem to be too concerned over the appearance of insider dealings when it comes to work done by U.S. Construction- an outfit that he joined three years ago as a director, after his previous employer was shut down on fraud charges and two of his bosses were sent off to prison.

    Over the last three years since Diaz was hired by U.S. Construction, the company has become the top general contractor at the Miami International Airport, according to an investigation by The Miami Herald. During the same period, Diaz has served as chairman or vice-chairman supervising the County Commission’s committee overseeing airport operations.

    U.S. Construction has pulled over 36 permits since Diaz’s arrival, handling everything from Duty Free stores to the sprawling La Carreta restaurant. In fact, the company has secured three times the work of the next-largest contractor. Prior to hiring Diaz, the contractor was a minor player at the airport.

    A spokesperson for one competitor, said they stopped bidding on work at the airport because of Diaz’s influence on choosing contractors.

    While Diaz has not voted directly to hire U.S. Construction on the airport jobs, in at least in three instances, he voted to give concessions to companies that subsequently picked his firm to handle the construction work.

  6. Sharon S.   November 18, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Pepe’s arrest “orchestrated”??!! Did you not see the same news footage of Pepe as the rest of us-you know, where Pepe was so inebriated he could hardly stand and slurred his speech? If that episode was orchestrated, it would earn Pepe an Academy Award for best performance in a comedy….of errors!

  7. ellena   January 2, 2018 at 10:57 am

    His DUI isn’t an issue. I would say the people he was with is more of an issue. That should be more looked into.

  8. Lolita   January 9, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    There will be pictures and videos that will surface when the time is right. He is a brave guy to run for another term with all the dirt on him. Too many witnesses to keep quiet. #quepeña

  9. Jose   January 12, 2018 at 1:19 am

    I wouldn’t say he is brave, he like everyone knows the political standards in Miami are banana republic.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.