|Senate president Joe Negron (left) needs Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (right) to preserve bullet-proof Republican majority|
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla was progressive before he was conservative before he became a moderate running for reelection to the Florida senate in a newly redrawn, mainly Democratic district in Miami-Dade.
I knew Diaz de la Portilla as an ambitious young county commissioner in Miami-Dade, who proposed the 2/3 Zoning Ordinance that infuriated the Latin Builders Association, before he became a hard-line conservative and lobbyist for members of the Latin Builders Association, and now a moderate.
In an interview in Diarios Las Americas, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla offered the following answer to the question: (sic) "Another point, scandalously, was the theme of redesigning legislative districts in Florida, and litigation that had to be decided by the Supreme Court of Florida. Why was it not possible that the legislature could do Fair Districts without litigation?" Here is how Diaz de la Portilla dodges blame:
(sic) Don Gaetz was the chairman of the committee that conducted the redesign of these districts. He was then the Senate president. We discovered that he was involved in countless illegal talks [on the issue of electoral maps] of which we were not aware. That does not mean that there were people, including the plaintiffs, trying to create districts with the intention of favoring one party or disfavor certain officials."We discovered"? To suggest that Republican leaders, including Diaz de la Portilla, neither knew about nor supported litigation that dragged on for years -- squarely in conflict with the will of more than 60% of Florida voters who supported Fair Districts, is plain wrong. Pinning blame on Don Gaetz, then Senate president: how convenient.
Voters should remember in November: the Florida GOP fought tooth-and-nail to protect its majority including the district in Miami-Dade that was illegally drawn yet sheltered Miguel Diaz de la Portilla as a reliable hard-line conservative vote. That's how political business got done in Florida.
Now that he has to abide by the results, on the losing side of a lawsuit by the Republican leadership in the legislature that cost taxpayers many millions of dollars, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla has redrawn himself and his political beliefs. That's not leadership.