Monday, February 05, 2018

SOUTH MIAMI: A twisted tale of old enemies working together in coming election. By Geniusofdespair

Two Bad Pennies...Why do they always keep turning up?

This photograph shows former South Miami mayor Horace Feliu and former South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro dining recently at Casa Cuba in South Miami.

A twisted tale of old enemies and odd allegiances in South Miami’s coming election

Fourteen years ago, South Miami Mayor Horace Feliu was arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement shortly after taking a big check from the city’s parking vendor inside city hall the night before the election. Early the following morning, South Miami Police officers who worked under Chief Martinez de Castro were outside city hall with printed signs reading “FELIU ARRESTED”. Former commissioner Valerie Newman, a Martinez de Castro friend and Feliu opponent, had told neighbors the exact date of Feliu’s future arrest a month ahead of time. Feliu logically figured that Chief Martinez de Castro had something to do with the arrest.

According to the Miami Herald, “Feliu was charged with three misdemeanor counts for accepting a campaign contribution in excess of the $500 state limit; for accepting a contribution in a public facility; and for accepting a contribution within five days of an election.” Astonishingly, in a trial held in Orange County because the state attorney was conflicted, Feliu somehow dodged a conviction using the bizarre defense that he was planning to give the money to the Democratic Party that would (illegally) return 90% to his campaign. Two years later, the good people of South Miami again elected Feliu as mayor. He soon ousted the city manager, and brought in a new city manager who quickly obtained Martinez de Castro’s resignation.

In 2010, FIU biology professor Philip Stoddard, a political novice, ran against Feliu, winning by a wide margin. With Feliu out of the way, Martinez de Castro wanted his old job back. In an elaborate conspiracy involving two commissioners, a city attorney, and a city manager, his pals got him rehired as South Miami’s Police Chief.

About a year later Stoddard learned through The Strawbuyer blog that city departments under the chief’s supervision were doing business with members of the Martinez de Castro family. Stoddard led the charge to oust the manager and chief, a task that took another year and many machinations.

Stoddard is now running for his fifth and final term (because of term limits) as mayor. Feliu, who has failed in several attempts at returning as a commissioner or mayor, is challenging Stoddard for the third time. It appears that the two ousted regimes from the bad old days of South Miami are teaming up under the adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Feliu doesn’t deny it. At the mayoral debate hosted by Rise-Up Florida last week, Feliu expressed his gratitude for campaign help by his old nemesis ex-police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro.

South Miami’s image as a well-run city has risen immeasurably under Mayor Stoddard’s leadership. South Miami has stabilized its government, reduced taxes, and decreased expenses while managing to increase reserves. Most importantly, they have reduced crime by a remarkable 40% through the introduction of community policing policies.

We hope South Miami voters have no desire to restore the previous regime under Feliu which ran South Miami in a style that rivaled Sweetwater, Opa-Locka, and Hudstead.

We support Philip Stoddard as South Miami's Mayor.


Albert Friend said...

Genius- why haven't you been hired by the Herald already?

Unknown said...

Guess you are afraid to post my comment. Well, you make the rules.