The State of the County address is usually about the county. Not this time. The know-it-all County Mayor used the speech to tell folks he is “a passionate man” and that his grandchildren call him “Abu.” And despite his constant warnings for the past two years that the future looks bleak, he shared with the audience: “I am an optimist.” Gimenez broke new ground with this speech. It was the first “Emotional State of the County Mayor” address.
The Mayor opened up about his family. In his own twisted words, he said, “ I couldn’t do this job without their total commitment and support not only to me, but also to the entire Miami-Dade County community.” That’s right, he said his family “supports the entire Miami-Dade County community.” Really? It is more like the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County entirely support his family. Between county and school system paychecks, a city pension, checks from government contractors and lobbying retainers, the family stays afloat on our tax dollars. If the Mayor is going to share his heartfelt thoughts about his family, he needs to be completely honest.
The speech wasn’t all fluffy. The Mayor talked tough about his “battle scars” from the Marlins Stadium deal. Even that comment was a bit of a stretch, though. What “battle scars” did he suffer? Because of that Marlins Stadium deal and the recall of Alvarez, Gimenez was able to quit his $6,000 a year Commissioner job and get elected to the Mayor’s office. He got a $144,000 pay raise. Plus, now he has all those high-paid Deputy Mayors to do his work while he goes golfing and visiting foreign countries.
Instead of telling us where he is leading the government, Gimenez announced he is leading a mission to Brazil this year. If he wants to create jobs with Brazilian companies, he should stay in his office and call that Brazilian company that wants to build the Airport City project. This trip is looking like another summer vacation package for his family and his lobbyists. I bet they go to the World Cup in Brazil. To get Gimenez tickets to the soccer games, his lobbyist friends must be working overtime. Or maybe Underwear Man and his billionaire backers are taking care of that.
After talking about his family and his vacation plans, the Mayor did say the State of the County is strong! And then he said the County has a $208 million hole in the budget. That’s like bragging you are done making mortgage payments on your house…and then mumbling, “because the bank did a foreclosure on me.” Maybe the Mayor was having a mood swing. Sometimes he feels like the county is strong, and other times he feels like the county is broke. It really depends on how he feels.
We know Gimenez has choked off the revenues for the county and has promised he is not going to lift a finger to raise money for the libraries. When Gimenez closes those library doors on the children and the elderly, the folks he says he feels so passionate about, he may find they have some passionate feelings about him. Some working age people may have some concerns about that, too.
Now that Ms. Martinez is the Chief of Staff, and she has got her big fat pay raise, she is all about cutting jobs and handing out pink slips. She should read the Mayor’s speech real careful. Gimenez said one of his major priorities is “helping our families improve their economic well-being.” How do our families improve their economic well-being when they are unemployed? This is the type of two-faced, double-talk that makes everyone say hateful things about Gimenez. No one in the County family likes the man, except maybe his new Chief of Staff – and that is being optimistic.
(The writers of Eye on Miami do not necessarily agree with our guest bloggers).