Eye On Miami conceived the "Sand In Your Eyes Award" in response to the "Sand In Your Shoes Award", the jovial tip o' the cap by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to community leaders we are more likely to lump in our category of "Great Destroyers".
Our readers' award recognizes a person, an agency or corporation whose actions have substantially added to the incredulity that goes along with observing Miami. Readers, by a large margin, conferred this dubious distinction to District 8 County Commissioner Lynda Bell.
Bell comes from the most corrupt little city in America: Homestead. In just her first term in county office, Bell swept aside the public service legacy of her predecessor -- Katy Sorenson -- and blew in a pro-development arrogance with no regard for history or balance. Because Bell is also capable of smarmy virtue-on-her-sleeve, she makes a perfect first recipient of our first annual "Sand In Your Eyes Award".
Among our readers, Bell did have competition. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Kathy Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, won strong support from our readers.
Our Best Post/s of the Year link to Commissioner Bell. Genius of Depair, my co-blogger, knocked the ball out-of-the-park with disclosures (picked up afterwards by the mainstream press) about the connection between Commissioner Bell and her family, a fencing ordinance that could have benefited a business run by her daughter (she neglected to disclose to the other Commissioners that the business was housed at her own home). That story leap-frogged to the shady involvement of a Sweetwater tow truck service (a city on the edge of the Everglades where Bell's daughter is a "law enforcement officer" and fence contractor, using the Former Mayor's equipment. That subsequently triggered even further investigation by law enforcement agencies for its connections to the Sweetwater Police Department).
Here are the EOM links to our best posts of the year: The Chain Link Fence Saga and Sweetwater Connection:
There is an aroma from these reports that drifts toward the King of Sweetwater: County Commissioner Pepe Diaz. As a member of the county commission's "unreformable majority", Diaz has already been the target of one federal investigation. In other words, Lynda Bell fits into -- ineptly -- the tradition we celebrated in yesterday's official new slogan for Miami-Dade County: "so close to the United States".
In 2014 we cross our fingers that Miami-Dade County will welcome new candidates for public office (good-bye to Bell!) and new initiatives by federal and state law enforcement to root out corrupt public officials and elected officials asleep at the switch. Some of these will certainly be candidates for our 2014 "Sand In Your Eyes Award"!