Monday, April 18, 2011
For Miami-Dade County Mayor, the best choice for people is Carlos Gimenez ... by gimleteye and Geniusofdespair
A fast election approaches to fill the vacancy in the strong mayor position due to recall. The question to voters: who is best qualified to build a bridge from the mayor's office to the county commission? There are two principal competitors: the mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina, and Carlos Gimenez, who resigned from his position on the county commission to run for mayor.
Robaina supported the Marlins Stadium, another wasteful investment of county resources in a time of economic crisis. Although this puts him on the right side of the commission, Robaina is on the wrong side of voters. Rightly, the Marlins Stadium deal is a litmus test for the Miami Dade electorate. Robaina now denies that he supported the stadium. He has also recently turned up in a series of Miami Herald reports, connected to the same insider dealing that binds him to a failed mayor: Alex Penelas. At EOM, the blog that counts the grains of sand for signs of contamination, Robaina sets off our political geiger counter.
We have watched Carlos Gimenez over the years navigate the turbulence of the county commission. More than any sitting commissioner, on crucial issues Gimenez is more often than not the sober voice of reason compared to fellow commissioners. Gimenez, for example, was clear in his opposition to the Marlins deal. This is not a time to throw a newbie in the mix. With deep experience, Gimenez has the important attribute of someone who knows not just how the devil is buried in the details, but also, where.
Along this line-- where the devils are buried-- we are concerned that Robaina, if chosen by voters in the May special election, will trigger a return to the cronyism honed in Hialeah politics where Cuban American development interests who live in gated communities elsewhere invest in Hialeah to elect candidates dedicated to the conversion of the public interest to private profit, whether in contracts for Miami International Airport or votes to change farmland and wetlands into more suburban sprawl. We experienced it ad nauseum during the years of Alex Penelas, when the 29th Floor resembled a Mideast souk where a thousand vendors owned by a few lobbyists trolled at the gateway for business. Although the economy has substantially hobbled the degree of proverbial cattle theft, recent bills in the state legislature-- showing public protections eviscerated willy-nilly to "create jobs" -- portend that Floridians will be led to pay for the same old patterns of unsustainable growth like cows funneled from feedlot to chute. Although the public deeply mistrusts government, it often does so without understanding underlying dynamics: shifting the costs of growth to future generations, allowing unfunded deficits to pile up in the billions that either need to be addressed by higher taxes or commit current taxpayers to a declining quality of life. We believe Carlos Gimenez is best qualified of the candidates to keep these dissonances in mind, while trying to steer a $7.5 billion budget and a chronically misaligned county commission.
Carlos Gimenez' record is being compared by the Robaina camp to former mayor Carlos Alvarez, particularly in terms of background in service as head of a government agency charged with public safety. With all due respect, Carlos Gimenez has much deeper experience in government management and supervision, including attention to detail and budgeting acumen at the municipal level.
To be elected mayor, Gimenez has carefully avoided political philosophies. He is a pragmatist and has made clear that he is not going to wander off the conservative reservation. His website states: "As County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez will continue to promote the principles that have been central to his public service career: lower taxes and smaller government." The question is: how to balance the burden fairly. This task is vastly complicated by the county commission. On balance Carlos Gimenez has the best skills of any candidate for mayor to navigate the county commission and, more importantly, to supervise the county manager, whoever is chosen to fill the vacancy. Carlos Gimenez is best qualified to provide calm, open and transparent leadership to restore public trust in county government. For this reason, we support Carlos Gimenez for Miami Dade County Mayor.
Eye On Miami Endorses Carlos Gimenez for Miami Dade County Mayor