Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Most Fabulous Interview Ever! Don't Miss This One!! By Geniusofdespair

Top: County Commissioners Xavier Suarez, Daniella Levine Cava and Juan Zapata. End of top: Candidates Grace Solares for City of Miami Commissioner and Raquel Regalado (School Board Member) running for Miami Dade County Mayor. Bottom Row: Mayors Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay; Cindy Lerner, Pinecrest; Philip Stoddard, South Miami and Daniel Dietch of Surfside.

We have some of the best sports in the world here is Miami: They answered my interview questions. Some questions were silly but they answered anyway and I have to give all who participated a lot of credit for their sense of humor.  These are the things I WANTED TO KNOW about them, you know, the really important things. Now the lobbyists will know what ice cream to bring them! I asked the questions of County Commissioners, City Mayors and two candidates. I gave an opportunity to the Mayor to respond (because I asked his opponent Raquel Regalado) and I asked Theresa Sarnoff through her campaign (because I asked her opponent Grace Solares to respond). Anyway, this is what I got back and I enjoyed reading all their answers and I know a heck of lot more about them now.  Thank you candidates and sitting public servants. I used their first names for their answers.

And, we are not allowing any negative comments on this post but we welcome positive comments. This took so long to compile, it will be up for two days.

What is your favorite color?
Juan: Red
Daniella: My campaign colors: poppy red and teal blue (new Americana colors; Patriotic with Miami flair).
Xavier: Blue
Cindy: Anything in the purple/ magenta shades
Eugene: I say it’s Palmetto Bay blue, but many tell me I like Green.
Philip: Gray
Daniel: Green
Grace: For dressing: black - for oil painting: dark yellow/orange
Raquel Cobalt Blue

What is your favorite food?
Juan: Pizza
Daniella: Anything with fresh curry leaf. My wonderful husband got me a plant so we could use it in everything and anything. It loves Miami weather.
Xavier: Ball park hot dogs with tons of mustard and a cold beer.
Cindy: All Seafood.
Eugene: Far too many to list.
Philip: Pauillac
Daniel: Cheese
Grace: desserts
Raquel: Its a tie- Low country (Shrimp and grits) and Peruvian food (ceviche and tacu tacu)

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Juan: Coconut
Daniella: Coffee. With pecans and homemade chocolate sauce.
Xavier: As a kid it was chocolate; now I go crazy for Haagen-Dazs "Dulce Leche."
Cindy: Chocolate
Eugene: Chocolate Trinity
Philip: Vanilla, with the little black specks
Daniel: Ginger
Grace: vanilla/hazelnut
Raquel: Two again; Caramel and sea salt gelato and vanilla ice cream with hot peanut butter 

What is your least favorite road to travel on because of traffic?
Juan: US 1
Daniella: Too many to name. I am riding Metrorail whenever I can. I arrive at my destination without stress.
Xavier: The intersection of the Palmetto and Dolphin expressways; the biggest waste of $560 million in toll monies that could have been used to fund 5.5 years of free Metrorail and Metrobus. 
Cindy: South Dixie Highway
Eugene: US1.  When I can, I jump on the Metrorail and ask myself, “What are they thinking?” when I see so many stuck in traffic, especially returning from court on Friday afternoons. The view from above is outstanding, especially when the Royal Poincianas are in full bloom.
Philip: Cross Bronx Expressway.  We have nothing in South Florida that comes close.
Daniel: I-95
Grace: US 1
Raquel: Alton Road

What is the password of your bank account?
Juan: I forgot
Daniella: Can't remember passwords.
Xavier: Genius2015
Cindy: Don't do online banking, I bank the old fashioned way.
Eugene: BOSCO
Philip: So long and complex that a supercomputer would take two years to figure it out.
Daniel: I could tell you, but then I’d have to _____ you.
Raquel: Nice Try Genius!

If you didn't answer the previous question, answer this: what is your mother's maiden name? Pets name, first car/job?
Juan: Mom, Fido, big wheel and selling newspapers.
Daniella: My mom is the best, and her parents were a huge influence in my life. My maternal grandmother died two years ago at age 104 after winning her bridge game. Lots of cats and dogs over the years. My first car (used) required AAA road service so often they tried to kick me out of the program. I wrote a letter pleading for leniency since I was a struggling student unable to purchase a more reliable car. They reinstated me and almost 40 years later I'm still a member.
Xavier: Pets names I might use include "Fido" and "Lassie."
My mother's maiden name goes back many generations to a Viceroy of Spain who was also Governor of Cuba and despised by the island's residents. I would not want to bring it up at this time. My first job was delivering newspapers (Washington Post).
My first car was a glorious red-and-black Mustang with a 289 HP engine and three gears that could really kick up a storm. I sold it to go to law school, and then began my professional life by driving a $75 Buick station wagon with a hole in the floor on the driver's side that was covered by a piece of metal, so my feet would not protrude from the bottom. It burned more oil than gas and I had to retire it soon after I arrived in Miami from Boston.
Daniel: Buick Opel
Grace: Dog, Charlie

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Juan: Coach Soccer
Daniella: What's that? Actually I do spend wonderful time with family, friends, and outdoor adventure. I love to canoe in the Everglades and everywhere.
Xavier: Read and write books.
Cindy:  What's that?  If I can schedule a vacation, I love the Rockies and go hiking, exploring.
Eugene: Bike South Florida, time in the gym, spending time in Florida Keys or at any of the bayside lookout points in Palmetto Bay: Deering North, People’s Dock, Snowden’s Point, or  Thalatta Estate. Update and inform through my one and only blog: “South Dade Updates.” Posting “global warming” as anonymous responses to official Florida online surveys.
Philip: Watch birds and mess around in the garden
Daniel: Spend time with my family, go to the beach and bike in local parks.
Grace: Paint (oil/mixed media)
Raquel: Sleep

Did you ever fall asleep at a meeting? Did you ever want to?
Juan: No and Yes.
Daniella: I did not always stay awake at law school. At BCC meetings I am on high alert!
Xavier: I have fallen asleep at church but not at meetings of the BCC since we have cameras on us. Plead the Fifth on the second part of the question. 
Cindy: Never at my own meetings, but probably have come close at other s meetings.
Eugene: Never.  This is when we address the issues that have been percolating or when we can work on projects together.  Meetings are not always exciting, but it is the time we have to work together. 
Philip: Please tell me I wasn’t snoring or drooling.
Daniel: No. Yes
Grace: No. Though some meetings do require an extra coffee to get through.
Raquel: No actually after sitting still all day at a meeting I need to burn some energy so I usually go for a run while listening to an audio book after a session.

Do you get cranky? How do you get out of that mode?
Juan: Yes. I eat sweets
Daniella: Yes, but then I remember how fortunate I am and how much I am learning from the experience.
Xavier: When I get cranky, "I simply remember my favorite things."  If that doesn't work, I pray.
Cindy: Not cranky, just bitchy. A visit with my grandbabies chills me out instantly.
Eugene: Anyone who says they don’t get cranky is not being truthful.  I best resolve through an aggressive workout at the gym or leaving it in the dust of a strong bike outing.
Philip: Yep.  A plate of latkes can end the funk.  So can a walk most times.
Daniel: Yes. I am still working on it…any tips?
Grace: Yes. I listen to music
Raquel:  I bake, have a latte or hot chocolate and watch reruns of the Lawrence Welk show . . . nothing puts life in perspective like 60/70's fashion and some polka! 

Do you have a relative that drives you crazy?
Juan: They all live in Columbia so the distance helps.
Daniella: No.
Xavier: Are you kidding me? I have thirteen brothers and sisters and more than 50 nephews and nieces, not counting my wife's side of the family. I ain't touching that! 
Cindy: Yes.
Eugene:  I can’t tell which one that is, so it must be me.
Philip: I did. Before she got Alzheimer’s disease, my loving aunt drove everyone crazy.  She once went into a department store and insisted they sell her a globe of Europe.  When a parking lot attendant became so frustrated with her that he shouted “Go f*** yourself lady!”  She retorted: “If I could I’d stay in bed all day!” 
Daniel: Who doesn’t?
Grace: No.
Raquel: Nope I drive them crazy.

What is your worst habit that you would like to change?
Juan: Procrastination.
Daniella: Better diet and more exercise would be good.
Xavier: Lack of patience - though that is not really a habit.
Cindy:  No time to worry about bad habits. If someone complained to me about one, I would address it in the order of complaints received.
Eugene: My worst habit is my too long list of favorite foods.  I wish that Pizza did not call me by name.
Philip: Telling people how to solve their problems.  People rarely want their problems solved, so much as they just want an empathetic listener.
Daniel: Procrastinating.  I’m still working on it…
Grace: Compulsive buying.
Raquel: It appears that I talk too fast . . .

Are you a dog or cat person?
Juan: Both
Daniella: Cat really. But some dogs have been my favorite companions.
Xavier: More dog than cat.
Cindy: Both, have 3 dogs and 2 cats
Eugene:  I am definitely a dog person, but don’t let my fav pet, Pumpkin (the cat) know.
Philip: I’m a cat person who has a dog who likes to think he’s a cat.  But we both know he’s a dog.
Daniel: Dog
Grace: Dog
Raquel: Generally a dog person but I have both a dog and a cat.

Who is your hero?
Juan: My father
Daniella: Shero: Elizabeth Warren
Xavier: Winston Churchill in politics, followed by any of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore, depending on which is the latest book I have read on them. Recently it is Jefferson, after reading John Ferling's intertwined biographies of Jefferson and Hamilton. 
Cindy: I have many heroes -  guess they are all sheroes -   Carol Marbin Miller, Rachel Maddow, in the media. Angelina Joie in her role at UN and her personal women's health issues,  Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, taught me how to fight for what I believe in, and Anat Hoffman, fighting for women's rights in Israel
Eugene: President Theodore Roosevelt.  There are so many people who have answered the call for causes that far too few people care about.  Anyone that steps up and shows a commitment to principle is a hero in my book.
 Philip: My grandfather, Louis Kraft.  Grandpa Lou worked to help Jews get out of Europe before and during WWII.  Afterwards he founded the Jewish Welfare Board and worked to reconstruct Jewish society in Europe.  He also worked on the creation of Israel.  Israel named a library after him.  I’d like to do something worthy of having a library named after me.
Daniel: William Rathje (an American archaeologist)
Grace: My father/mother
Raquel:  I have childhood heroes that I have mentioned in the past but presently I don't have a hero. And while there are people that I admire for their strength, conviction and achievement I take issue with Cinderella complexes. At some point we all have to grow up and be our own heroes, we have to strive everyday to be the best version of ourselves and take ownership of our strengths and weakness.

What would you say is your best attribute?
Juan: Being honest
Daniella: My Children
Xavier: My wife would say that I wash dishes and generally pick up after both of us.
My kids would say that I am a great baby-whisperer, as I can put any of the six grandchildren to sleep.
My staff would (hopefully) say that I inspire them.
My constituents would say that I serve them well and listen to them.
My political adversaries would acknowledge that I never give up.
My g-d, assuming one exists, will hopefully say that I went about doing good.
Cindy: Speaking truth to power
Eugene:  My sense of humor.
Philip: No question, I married well.
Daniel: Patience
Grace: Good listener
Raquel: I am an out of the box problem solver, I believe that people can work things out if they are candid, open minded and not risk adverse. As far as I'm concerned its not a matter of if we can figure it out its just a matter of when we can make finding a solution a priority and figure it out.

Is Florida on the right or wrong road?
Juan: Right road.
Daniella: 78% voted for Amendment 1. That is a very promising sign.
Xavier: Judging from this legislative session, one would have to say the wrong road. However, as a state we have gone a long way from the way we were in the earlier eras described by Mike Grunwald in his mesmerizing book, "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise."
Cindy: Been on the wrong road for two decades!
Eugene:  Road?  We are deep in the weeds! But I believe we have identified the issues and we are working through the issues.  We will get there.
Philip: Not exactly a road, we seem to be on one of those water slides at the theme park, only there’s no water waiting for us at the bottom.
Daniel: I am eternally optimistic.
Grace: Florida needs to refocus its priorities to better position itself for opportunities such as green energy and technology.
Raquel:  After this legislative session I doubt anyone could argue that we are going in the right direction, unless of course you consider the right direction being the punch line for late night TV jokes.

Did you ever say the words "Global Warming"?
Juan: What is that? ;-)
Daniella: I can't stop thinking and talking about it.
Xavier: I said it a few times just in the last couple of days.
Cindy:  Yes, with great gusto!  I am proud to be a strong proponent and leader of an effort to better educate all elected officials  about the impacts of climate change, to incorporate the role as a steward of their own constituency to address  Climate change.
Eugene: Often - Three times fast, but simply saying it doesn’t help.
Philip: Yes, on March 10th, 2015, in the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee.  Nobody tried to stop me, perhaps because Gov. Scott’s henchman had just forced out the head of FDLE.
Daniel: Yes, although I prefer the term “climate change.”
Grace: Yes
Raquel: Yep and also say "Sea Level Rise" with frequency

What are the last 4 digits of your social security number?
Juan: What are yours?
Daniella: If you are in financial distress I know many places that can assist. I am proud of my former nonprofit for its great work with the Prosperity Campaign and am sure they can steer you in the right direction.
Xavier: XXXX  Note: since "X-man" is my nickname, it is easy to remember....
Cindy: I have been advised to not disclose to prevent identity theft.
Eugene:  The same as yours, Genius.
Philip: 33143
Daniel: Whole numbers between 1 and 9.
Raquel: 1234

Where would you like to retire?
Juan: Don't plan on retiring.
Daniella: Wherever my children and/or grandchildren (to come) will be, if they'll have me.
Xavier: Miami Beach. Really.
Cindy: Part time in Telluride , Colorado.
Eugene: Retirement is a state of mind.  I would like to have the flexibility and health to live in several different locations – Palmetto Bay, the Keys, New Mexico, and Upstate NY.
Philip: Above Sea Level.
Daniel: Surfside, Florida
Grace: right here in Miami, by the waterfront
Raquel: In the best place there is to live; Miami Dade County! But on a sailboat that has an espresso machine and WiFi

Brag about one thing in your community (that you didn't marry or give birth to).
Juan: We have Best Soccer talent in the Country.
Daniella: We have a gem: farmland in South Dade. Let's nourish and protect it.
Xavier: We are the most creative community in the world; in terms of architecture, technology, the arts and government, we are a cauldron of diverse experiences that if, forged correctly, can lead to greatness, despite our relative youth. 
Cindy:  Pinecrest Gardens has become a real community jewel, combining a beautiful Botanic,Garden, a cultural arts center and a play space for children and families
Eugene: Parks, parks and more parks!  Our original village council worked diligently together with the community to set aside green areas, purchase new park land and improve existing parks.
Philip: South Miami banned the spraying of nerve poisons (insecticides) in our public air spaces, with an exception for addressing a mosquito-borne disease outbreak.
Daniel: The intelligence and engagement of our residents
Grace: Some of the great people that make up the fiber of Miami.
Raquel: For all its issues Miami Dade County has amazing residents, people who have survived and overcome many challenges. People who believe in new beginnings, people who want a better life for their children and grandchildren. People who understand that personal and professional achievements require hard work. But we rarely apply this pioneer spirit beyond our friends and family. As a native miamian I am proud of the people that make up our unique miami dade communities and believe that we can make our collective home a great place if we hold government accountable and elect leaders who value our communities, believe in hard work and respect our residents.

What did I miss that I should have asked you?
Juan: How crazy are you for being in Politics?
Daniella: What is my assessment of my first six months in office? It has been exciting and eye-opening. I have a great team: we have been deeply engaged with the residents and businesses of the district, and have brought some important legislation forward. It is an honor and joy to serve.
Xavier: What is the single thing that drives me most in my political life? I would answer it is trying to provide jobs to the 70,000 or so county residents that are looking for work.
Followed by the single thing that I feel I can do to improve our county: "Make Transit Work."
Cindy:  were you in scouting?  What inspired you to run for office, what will you do next in life, who are you encouraging to run for office?
Eugene: How’s it feel to be back in office after serving as the first mayor? I am really grateful to once again lead Miami-Dade County’s best community!  I have such a supportive family which is both helpful and inspires me to put in all the hours required in order to ensure that Palmetto Bay is protected and moves forward in a positive way for generations to come.
Philip: If you could turn the clock back, what mistake would you remedy (other than failing to invest in Tesla when it went public)?
Daniel: Question: Why politics?  Answer: I learned from my parents that you make the community that you want to live in.
Grace: Why do you devote so much time to advocacy/activism?
Answer - I believe that our community can achieve its greatest potential when community members are engaged and pushing for more
Raquel: What do you eat straight out of the container when no one is around? Peanut butter
What would you not let your children borrow? My shoes
If you had to be an animal what animal would you be? A lioness
If you had extra time what would like to learn to do? Fly planes, would love to get my pilot's license.

Now lobbyists, you know what color to wear when visiting these people! Not such dumb questions after all.


Anonymous said...

I never knew Xavier Suarez was so amusing I really enjoyed his answers.

Anonymous said...

This was great. This was humorous and loved all the answers.

Anonymous said...

Love it!

Boris said...

Genuinely nice people, authentic and open. Thank you for sharing, all of you.

Gimleteye said...

Love it.

Anonymous said...

We often don't think of public officials as people like us that get cranky, hate some relatives and like their ice cream. Thanks for reminding us what it is to be human and most of all for reminding them.

Geniusofdespair said...

I am disappointed I didn't get any usable social security numbers or passwords. By the way, I once used Bosco.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the identity stealing info, I'll use it wisely

Anonymous said...

I suppose the school board won't have Regalado's support on removing peanut butter from the school menu.

Franco said...

Good one: Above Sea Level. Guess you will be moving out of Florida when you retire Mayor Stoddard.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the much needed break from the serious issues. This was as educational as it was fluff. Now, can we go back to asking why Wayne Rosen and Pinky Munz need to spend so much money to keep Judy Waldman in office despite term limits!?

Adam Locke said...

I really enjoyed this!

Anonymous said...

So good to know some human qualities. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Loved this! Best interview ever. Nice of all of you to submit comments. Thanks, Genius. Great job! Thanks Daniella for the plug for Miami Dade farmland. Uplifting remarks!

Anonymous said...

Since Carlos Gimenez has no human qualities, I'm not surprised he didn't answer your questions.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Cindy Lerner, a caring and wonderful human beiing and leader!

Anonymous said...

Next time, ask them if they believe that climate change is man-made.

Surfside Gal said...

Thank you for including our Mayor Daniel Dietch. Sometimes it seems like you ignore us.

Geniusofdespair said...

The person who said "ah" so many times your comment was completely off-topic I erased it . Besides I didn't understand what the hell you were talking about. It just didn't sound like a positive comment and that was required of this post.

Anonymous said...

“All journalists are manipulated and all politicians lie,” Judith Miller - New York Times