Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Mayor for Miami-Dade: Carlos Gimenez ... by gimleteye

So a new mayor has been elected for Florida's most populous county. Now what? The Miami Herald does a good job summarizing the immediate challenges, noting the November 2012 cycle is around the corner. EOM knows that the special interests who backed Julio Robaina are not giving up. They will dig deeper into their pockets. That could be for Joe Martinez, a malleable soldier if there ever was one.

Robaina's supporters will quickly reach out to Gimenez. The Latin Builders Association, for example, will say of its bait-and-switch; no hard feelings. But there are hard feelings. (From our POV, it rankles that Gimenez was more careful about not offending the LBA than the constituency made up of Eyeonmiami readers who voted early and pushed him over the top, and Gimenez should rectify that soon.) The forces of darkness (as blog commenters observed) came closer to putting their man in office than any election since Alex Penelas left office under a cloud. Gimenez needs to think back to the years and years of service on the dais in County Chambers where being "political" meant often voting the right way but biting his tongue and holding back from speaking his mind: we hope for more.

Gimenez will be weighed down by severe demands of assembling a budget, the Herald notes. EOM believes winning in 2012 will be relatively simple compared to getting past Robaina. He has to show voters how he will protect what matters to them, not special interests.

First, Gimenez needs to put in place competent senior aides and staff who will do no harm. The county manager appears untouched by the tarnish of her predecessor, George Burgess. That is a good start. Second, he needs to reassure the public that he will not be an automaton in the pursuit of a new way forward. He could send a powerful signal to the public, by standing up for our quality of life: parks, wetlands protection, and the Everglades. That means embracing the challenge of land use planning now that the state and Governor Rick Scott washed their hands of it.

Our blog readers know that the first priority of monied interests who supported Robaina was to eviscerate environmental protections (DERM) and reversing zoning against converting farmland and wetlands to more suburban sprawl (UDB). During the campaign, Gimenez was disappointing on both subjects, trying to find a place where he wouldn't expose his campaign to further fund-raising disadvantage.

The game is different, now. Voters did not automatically fill in the circle to darken the county with the Hialeah machine. It would be good to hear a strong statement from Gimenez along the lines of the county needing to fortify environmental rules and regulations, articulating how we have to protect the features of life in South Florida that make employers want to create jobs, here. Voters and taxpayers need a signal of encouragement that is fundamentally different from the nonsense emanating from Tallahassee. Whether Gimenez is smart enough to see the opportunity and seize it, remains to be seen.


Anonymous said...

This is a spot on editorial. It echo's my sentiments in regard to our new Mayor Gimenez. His voting record has leaned toward the LBA in regard to breaching the UDB. However, I do have some confidence he'll be able to stop some of the environmental destruction being proposed by Diaz and Bell. Martinez will not win over Gimenez. Our County has proven it's diversity and it's not about the Latin stronghold, it's about US as a huge city, mostly sharing a lot of common interests.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "doing no harm" is there any truth to the rumor Xavier Suarez is hiring Terry Murphy, consigliere of the "Hialeah Machine", to be his chief of staff?

J said...

"The county manager appears untouched by the tarnish of her predecessor, George Burgess."

Please don't tell me you are referring to crony Alina Hudak. Hudak and Burgess were connected at the hip and she has been part of the problem for years.

For example, one of her primary responsibilities in recent years has been to oversee the police department. Her incompetence and mismanagement resulted in the misuse of $5 million earmarked to fight environmental crime. At her direction, no one was disciplined in the scandal and the misused money was never reimbursed.

She and the numerous unqualified cronies she has placed in high paying jobs without competition all need to be shown the door.

Anonymous said...

if gimenez keeps alvarez's handpicked manager, alina hudak, we will instantly know that robaina was correct and gimenez and alvarez are essentially the same mayor.

Anonymous said...

The County Manager position has been abolished (at the initiative of Carlos Gimenez) and it is now essentially the Mayor's Chief of Staff. Gimenez will pick someone loyal to him rather than Alina Hudak.

Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader of this blog and am continually impressed by the interesting commentary. Regarding Hudak, her picture appears next to "bureaucrat" in the dictionary. If Gimenez keeps her in a senior position, it will be the most visible and immediate evidence that he is going in the wrong direction.

Where you are naive, in my opinion, is your implication that the LBA somehow didn't support Gimemez. He and Robaina received millions in soft money donations from every corner of the community, including developers and their affiliates.

For evidence, just look at the cast of characters who ran his campaign.

Gimenez and Robaina both said they support development inside the UDB. That leaves lots of opportunities for development.

The most intersting problem facing Gimenez is how he handles the gigantic budget shortfall facing his biggest supporters in the fire department.

Anonymous said...

To Anon #6... AMEN! This effort to sanctify Gimernez is out of touch with reality. He's a "friend" of the same bunch that gave Robaina a stronger support, and the only difference is that Robaina would have been more brazen in advancing that posse's interests -- Gimenez has always been more "cautious," if that's how you want to illustrate his demeanor towards the BIG BOYS. That's why I said, last night, that we'll be watching Gimenez through a magnifying glass. Let's not forget that Sergio and his boys have not announced any plans for moving their base of operations away -- which is too damn bad!

Anonymous said...

By the way, the presence of commissioner Sosa at the victory party was the sign that Marco Rubio and his followers were VERY PRESENT IN THIS CELEBRATION. Too bad you all don't speak Spanish so you would be able to listen to Marquito's frequent appearances on the Marta Flores progrsam [Radio Mambi] along with his "madrina" Sosa. So if Sosa was there, so was the rest of the posse... they just didn't want to taint Gimenez. It's more prudent to keep him CLEAN, at least, in the public eye.

Anonymous said...

I think our new Mayor will be very good on the budget. If I could have a wish list - it would start within County Hall employees (nepotism positions, Alvarez & Burgess shuffled employees) If that doesn't clear the pond out enough, then I'd be looking at the salary/benefit to everyone making over 100K. Mind you, some may earn in, but I bet most don't. Then, he said he's shrink and/or combine departments. That should keep him busy while he has two weeks to get a budget to the Commission. I mention the above as a starting points to cuts in our budget! I expect him to do as he say's and I'll be watching.

As to the rest of the comments, I've learned to not second guess, which some have been, what people will do as elected officials in this County. It'll make for good theory, but, he has to run for re election in like no time. Same as Suarez (to the moron who keeps making posts about him and Terry Murphy). The only rumor I've heard about this is the one line comments in unrelated blogs and it's getting old.

Anonymous said...

Suarez is to smart to saddle himself with the likes of Terry Murphy. It is just a rumor.

Anonymous said...

And the first one to push the eject button is... wait for the Drum Roll - Suzy Torriente


Anonymous said...

Gimenez is an insider who will evicerate the unions and leave the upper echelon. 60 departments give me a break. He is out of touch with his own budget when he said on the televised debate with Michael Putney that employee benefits and salaries account for 80% of the budget.

This is a blatant lie meant to inflame the public against the county employees.

The issue at hand is that the County administration is seeking to cover the whole budget shortfall on the back of the rank and file employees. The fact is that the people who made the decisions that put the county in this mess with projects such as the stadium and the tunnel will go on to other high paying positions while the unionized employees are demonized. I say, cut from the top, there are over 60 departments with directors that all make over 200k. Alina Hudaks memo is completely biased against the employees but makes no mention of downsizing the county executive offices who will continue to bury their executives in departments as assistant directors and deputy directors all making above 180k. The memo also fails to mention that the employee salaries and benefits account for only 30% of the budget and not the majority of the 7.3 billion dollars.

Gimenez is more of the same. he has a six figure pension that he should forfeit while he is in office to save the taxpayers money or alternately take a pay cut in the amount equal to his pension. Any reductions he proposes to his salary is to discourage people who would possibly run against him in 2012.

Time will tell. I wanted to post this on the herald but I do not want to sign in to a paper that is a handmaiden to the county cronies. Feel free to post my remarks anywhere.

When is someone finally going to admit that the stadium and the tunnel are a bad deal.

Insofar as the UDB and the environment you can kiss those notions good bye. Where do you think all of the fill that is excavated from the tunnel is going?

You guessed it to reclaim land from the everglades.

Someone needs to finally level with the people of Miami Dade.

Anonymous said...

Gimenez must show he is not a stooge of the fire unions.
Hard to do as his membership in the City of Miami firefighters union lead to his multi-million dollar fortune.

$120,000 pension plus escalations x 30 years = $3,600,000 plus a pension from Miami-Dade County...

Gimenez needs to reduce pay and benefits immediately.

Robaina promised to fire 6,000 County employees in order to reduce taxes. Carlos? Listening?

Anonymous said...

What happens to the community when u lay off 6000 people? That is 6000 families that will not be able to keep up with bills and needs... That could be 6000 families that will be without medical care. Then you throw in Scotts fired state employees and that all adds up to a lot of money not being spent in local stores, restaurants and hmmm, the new marlins stadium. That could mean a larger number of foreclosures and the other miserable things not paying property taxes.

I have been employed for a year and the job market still sucks .

Anonymous said...

OMG, Carlos, what have you done to yourself!

Anonymous said...

County hall is bloated! 2nd to last anon, how many non government employees have been laid off, with no medical insurance, etc.. who don't have guaranteed government jobs with publicly funded retirement and benefit packages? The same can be said in regards to the Unions. Cry me a river!

I don't have medical insurance nor a job, but own a home and pay taxes to pay for this train wreck we call County Hall. Sorry, but don't let the door hit you.

I was fortunate enough to not over leverage my house using an equity loan, or take out a 100% mortgage like a large group of people down here did.

I believe there have been 6 incorporated areas in Miami Dade since 2000, the payroll should have been dropping with each incorporated area, but it has not, and that's the fault of Penellas/Alvarez/Burgess, and an inflated housing market.

Property taxes get paid no matter what. That's what the certificate sales do if the homeowner cannot. That's such a bogus argument (in regard to property taxes won't get paid), I cannot believe any homeowner anywhere would know this.

Anonymous said...

Property taxes get paid no matter what. That's what the certificate sales do if the homeowner cannot. That's such a bogus argument (in regard to property taxes won't get paid), I cannot believe any homeowner anywhere would know this.

I meant to type "wouldn't know this"!

It wasn't Fraudien, just my spell check!

Anonymous said...

Property taxes always get paid. By a bank or by an investor.

Robaina was on the right track. 6,000 County employees need to leave. Fire them or retire them. Let them make their fortunes in the private sector.

Gimenez better reduce taxes like he promised or he's out in 2012.

Anonymous said...

County government has far too many employees.

A deficit of $400 Mil? Time to let the deadwood leave.

Anonymous said...

Some of you have it right - There is too many "Executive and Management" positions in the County "everywhere" at the Seaport, Solid Waste, Water& Sewer and Airport!!
Every time George said he got ride of a position he would ship that person to another department with that high salary!
Get ride of the layers of Management, Supervisors and Executive - there goes a couple of million dollars saved..., get ride of "take home vehicles" - Everyone including police need to drive their own cars, pay for gas, tolls and Insurance - you will find a couple of million dollars just in that one action! Get ride of "Executive Benefits" a couple of million more.. Cut back on travel, certifications - there goes more money. Reduce the size of departments but do it from the top down not just the rank in file, there goes more money.
Oh, yes Sorry CBO cut those too because the rank and file employees have been taking the brunt of attacks and cuts - but the abuse of "some" CBO are there, more money.... Lets not forget "the Commissioners personal piggy bank" that alone is in the millions when you total it.. This should bring us very close - INSTEAD all we do is attack rank and file employees their pay and benefits, well they are tax-payers, voters and citizens of this county too and they are just as repulsed with County Government - but your too dumb to see that!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Gimenez will get rid of 100's of underworked and overpaid County managers and executives.

Anyone notice County Hall is almost empty Friday afternoons?