Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two weeks to go, in hotly contested District 8 county commission race … by gimleteye

Last Sunday, "This Week In South Florida" on the local NBC affiliate featured challenger for the District 8 county commission Daniella Levine Cava and the hard-pressed incumbent Lynda Bell. Michael Putney and Glenna Millberg, the co-hosts, conducted the interview as a conversation, but the conversation quickly devolved into talking points.

Although the race is "non-partisan", the subtext was visible: Republican Bell complaining about the unions ganging up and her, and the core values of the GOP: lower taxes and jobs while striking out at Cava who will "have to raise taxes" as a Democratic liberal.

Cava takes the high road: she has been brought forward by a coalition of interests who asked her to run and she will proceed as a county commissioner by first finding ways to cut out the privileges and excesses of the county budget favoring incumbents.

Bell barked at Cava on the Marlins Stadium deal. Liar. Cava charged Bell with demonizing county workers and staff.

The segment -- lasting less than 15 minutes -- proved the inadequacy of television, to get beneath the surface.

On the polish front, Bell presents like a local version of Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, both right-wing lightning rods. "This Week In South Florida" co-hosts ought to have asked: have either of you received media training from your respective political parties.

Even the hosts appear discouraged by the result of the medium that employs them.

The segment following Bell and Cava promised insight on the candidates for governor, Charlie Crist and incumbent Rick Scott, and their respective positions on the environment -- since last week was Scott's attempt to lure the environmental vote with the roll out of a new plan to paper over three and a half years of destruction. But once the point was made by the co-hosts' panelists, they simply skipped to the next topic.

It is hard to know what to make of the modern political campaign, filtered through the eyes of experts guessing how the dim public gets its information. Who can say that the billions of dollars being spent to lubricate the American political system through television advertisement is good for Democracy.

That is a question I wished had been asked of the District 8 candidates. I also wish they had been asked about FPL and nuclear power in their area, and why the former director of DERM Carlos Espinosa -- a career civil servant -- resigned after Bell ganged up on him at a "public meeting" called for the purpose of gutting environmental regulations and enforcement.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Is that the best you can do, Bell Troll?

Anonymous said...

Liar, taxes. Bells two word campaign.

Anonymous said...

Word of mouth between people who talk about the issues and explain their reasoning, trumps all media. That's the basis of why the library issue was successful.

On the other hand, reality tv people don't bother to vote unless it's for Americas got talent - Lynda's kind of people.

Anonymous said...

They keep framing the Budget issues on Taxes when in reality it should not come to that, the real problem is mismanagement by the administration. They've known for 3 years those concessions where coming back and it was never addressed, there also seems to be money for what they want not necessarily to provide services.

Geniusofdespair said...

Trolls you will be removed.

Anonymous said...

Lynda wa wide eyed and talking a mile a minute, agressively rabid. Daniella was calm and poised, looking good I might add.

Daniel said...

Bell called Michael Putney 'Bob' at one point and interrupted hîm.

Anonymous said...

The message is simple

Remove corruption+cut waste=lower taxes.

So far Bell has failed on 2 of 3 and when I listen to her carefully I hear " I've kept the UMSA property tax millage rate flat" which is not keeping taxes flat. My taxes have actually gone up under her watch.

Bell's messages seldom stand up to fact checking.

Anonymous said...

Cava was calm but she needs to understand that the public sector employees i.e. County workers generally make 25% to 75% more than their private sector counterparts. Private sector workers do not get Defined Benefit Pension Plans. The County has 10+ parking lot attendants who make $50,000+ per year, plus benefits. No wonder taxes are too high.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. How is a $50,000 a year parking attendant Daniella's fault?. Lynda claims to be Little Miss parking authority on her campaign literature, how come she didn't even mention this over the last four years?
In fact she WAS so supportive of the status quo she got her own kid a county job last year before this blew up.

Ana said...

I am sorry to hear that Bell did well in another debate. Do you have a link to the show?

Anonymous said...

Q: How is a $50,000 a year parking attendant Daniella's fault?

A: Daniella supported a 5% pay increase for the overpaid parking attendant along with an increase for every other overpaid unionized county employee. Bell opposed the increase.

Anonymous said...

WPBT2's Issues did a debate too

Lala said...

I shed no tears for DERM director Carlos Espinosa, a Burgess/Alvarez crony who was hired into his $200k+ job without going through a competitive recruitment process.

But that reminds me ...

If Levine Cava wants a great issue, she should start ripping Bell for rubberstamping every Gimenez director appointment. Every last director was selected without a job advertisement or a competitive interview and Bell voted to approve them all. Gimenez inherited a flawed personnel system marked by cronyism and he put it on steroids. It is unbelievable that we have an unqualified clown, Bill Johnson, as our Water and Sewer Director thanks to a Gimenez non-competitive appointment and Bell's rubberstamp approval vote.

The public deserves to have the best qualified people in our government, not the the current hacks with political connections.

I know it's late in the game, but Cava Levine should hold a press conference and pledge to introduce legislation mandating a competitive recruitment process for ALL county positions, ESPECIALLY those at the top of the pyramid. She should also pledge to vote against any Gimenez director appointment that does not go through the process and rip Bell for condoning a corrupt practice.

I am not a fan of Cava Levine's union ties, but if she showed a real commitment to reform the county's corrupt hiring system, I would vote for her in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Daniella is not supporting a 5% increase, Daniella is supporting to give back the 5% that was taken away from the employees, along with furlough days and other cuts to the employees so the Administration could balance the budget and say they didn't raise taxes. In the meantime there's money for millionaires The Mayor and Bell like to refer to it as a raise as most voters are not in tune to whats really going on.

Anonymous said...

Lala - I'm a county employee of over 26 years. I totally agree with you about the nationwide county recruitment process.

What total political speak touting us as a "worldclass" city when we have only inbred cronyism at the top levels.

What we have are "worldclass" problems that need to be solved.

Anonymous said...

why did daniella start speaking after glenna had introduced the next segment? glenna looked pissed.

Anonymous said...

will someone please buy Lynda Bell a hair brush....wayne rosen you can afford that.

Anonymous said...

Why did Lynda Bell approve the union contract for 10 $50,000 a year parking attendants?

Why has the county, during Lynda Bell's term maintained parcel B at a cost of $6.5 million when it was a limo parking lot for the Heat Games?

Are those 10 parking attendants assigned to work the Parcel B lot during the games???

Hola said...

The union contract doesn't set the salaries. The salary ranges and the pay supplements are contained in the county pay plan. If Linda Bell voted for the pay plan with all of its ridiculous pay supplements, she should be held accountable.

Commenter Lala is on target. If I were on the commission, I would vote against every director appointment without a competitive recruitment and every pay plan with bloated pay supplements and differentials.

Anonymous said...

The 5% is moot. It was given back by the BCC, vetoed by then mayor then overrode by the BCC back in june.
At issue now is largely furlough days granted three years ago in the current contract and due to expire at the end of this contract September 30t 2014
All this arguing about pay grades and overtime has nothing to do with the "snap backs" at the end of september.
It's the NEXT contract which addresses the structural issues Bell is ranting about but because Bell the mayor and a small minority of commissioners have drawn an election year line in the sand and the unions understand grandstanding politicians they will probably prefer to wait and go to arbitration after the election and 2015 budget cycle.
This is where Cava comes in. They trust her and she may be better able to find consensus before it goes to arbitration.
Certainly Bell will have zero impact now. At best she is one vote in 13. They have no interest in talking to her. they find her claim she's lowering their pay to save jobs as hollow has her "I didn't consider expanding fences in dade county would expand my family's fence business"

Anonymous said...

Here are the links to the WPBT2 ISSUES debate with Levine and Bell:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0TLsaOSHps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiOJZbHmpS0

Anonymous said...

"they find her claim that she's lowering their pay to save jobs as hollow has her "I didn't consider expanding fences in dade county would expand my family's fence business"

beautifully stated.

Anonymous said...

Per Michael Hernandez the Mayor's mouthpiece, along with his Master, both saying that regardless of how ever much the library budget turned out to be - no matter what - there will be layoffs in the library department.

When you know your opponent at the negotiating table comes with the clear expectations of creating "PAIN" as he clearly and repeatedly stated to the media, then the union's arbitration plan makes sense.

www.recallgimenez.com



Anonymous said...

The comments from lala about the former DERM Director Carlos Espinosa are not accurate. He was most definitely not a Burgess/Alvarez crony having worked his way up in DERM as a water management engineer starting way before Burgess and Alvarez. Previous to that he worked at the Army Corps.

Anonymous said...

If he got his job without a competitive job interview and a job announcement, he was a crony. Before he was a director, he was an asst director. Also no job interviews. Before that he was a division chief. Also no interviews.

While the rest of us need to prepare applications, submit resumes, take tests, and compete through interviews, the cronies get their jobs with a simple shake of the hand.

Deputy Mayor and Crony Queen Alina Hudak has been at the county for more than 30 years. She hasn't gone had to go through a job interview since she became a management intern over 30 years ago. Ditto for budget director Jennifer Moon, water and sewer director Bill Johnson, and a host of others. The two-tiered system - cronies and noncronies --makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Bill Johnson has been recycling through the county system since stierheim's days. I seem to remember he got in trouble for kickbacks at the Seaport decades ago and was let go or something.
I was doing a search on new times and this hilarious blast from the past came up.

Good call GoD, did you post that photo?

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/11/the_top_five_turkeys_in_miami-.php

Anonymous said...

Carlos Gimenez and existing (and former) County Commissioners are to blame for most County employees being so drastically overpaid. Worse, the benefits are not sustainable. Daniela Cava better learn quick the unions are no friends to the taxpayers. Bell is starting to figure it out.

Ernie Silva said...

hello

Anonymous said...

WASD is the home of the worst cronyism in all County government. John Renfrow's term as director was a joke. No one went through any kind of process to get a job or a promotion. They didn't even attempt to cover it up, it was flagrant. His team inherited a bad sewage problem but then did nothing to repair it. They wasted their time, knowing they would all bail when the time came to address it. And bail they did! Each taking hundreds of thousands in unused sick and vacation time.