It's Lonely at the Top

In the first weeks of his administration, Xavier Suarez isn't making many new friends, and he's not influencing many people either

"This commission has certain duties and obligations," Teele crowed as old-guard commissioner J.L. Plummer silently probed the roof of his mouth with an index finger. "I do not intend to be a rubber stamp under this charter."

Even as Teele was insisting that city business be conducted in the open, the mayor was barricaded in his second-floor office, scanning a resume handed to him by Ignacio Vazquez, a chief in the Metro-Dade Police Department. At lunchtime a caterer lugged in foil-covered plates and beverages. Half an hour later, spokesman Oscar Gaetan emerged to address the reporters who had gathered in the tiny foyer waiting for the mayor to make an appearance. No comment at this time on the potential new candidate for police chief. No comment on the first meeting of the commission. Not even any comment on the lunch, other than to say that the mayor has to eat just like everyone else.

When the TV cameras blinked off, Gaetan pulled aside a certain New Times writer. "He knows you're here and he really wants to talk to you," the spokesman divulged. "Why don't you try to get ahold of him on Friday?"

As Friday morning was turning from sunny to overcast, this writer arrived at Suarez's residence to see two of the mayor's young daughters loading a car for what they said would be a family vacation to the Keys. Francis, Xavier's eldest son, invited the writer inside for a glass of ice water. As Francis was filling a glass in the kitchen, the mayor bounded down a spiral staircase and firmly grasped the writer's arm. "How did you get in here?" he demanded. "We've got to get you out of here or you're going to witness a family crisis." He led the writer outside, past a glistening blue pool and through a back gate.

"You made a mistake," Suarez scolded his son, who was following with the water, ice cubes tinkling against the glass. "You should have never let him inside." His son laughed and said he was just trying to be polite, but the mayor's glower was undiminished. "All media," he replied, "are the enemy."

He had no comment on any topic at this time, the mayor announced. Quickly closing the white iron gate, he wished the reporter good day and retreated, presumably to spend more time with his family.

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