DeFede

Have We Got an Airport for You!

For example, they had T-shirts with the word Miami on them, and they also had T-shirts with the word Florida on them. Each of these T-shirts came in different colors. They had white and red and blue and green and pink. And of course each shirt came in different sizes. There were small, medium, large, and even extra-large.

So if you wanted a red Miami T-shirt, size small, we would have it. Or if you wanted a medium-size green Florida T-shirt, we would have that too. Or you could get the Florida shirt in white and extra-large, or the Miami shirt in blue and medium.

I haven't even mentioned the subcategories based on blends of fabric. Some of the shirts were 40 percent cotton, 60 percent polyester. Others were 50-50. And don't get me started on the rayon! By the way, some of those shirts used letters and others used a very attractive script.

Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas was in Spain last week drumming up business for the airport
Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas was in Spain last week drumming up business for the airport

In other words, my friends, the perception that our airport stores do not offer a variety of merchandise is simply not true. The same goes for criticism of the restaurants. As I was being escorted past the lines of people at the ticket counters, I couldn't help but notice that several restaurants were offering pizza slices featuring both pepperoni and sausage.

[PAUSE.]

On the same slice!

[PAUSE.]

When I first took office, such a combination slice was not even thought possible at Miami International Airport. Naturally we had to renegotiate the food-and-beverage contract in order to achieve this, and the company demanded some hefty financial concessions. But the important thing is that we did it, and I think we are a better community as a result. And when I win re-election, we'll add mushrooms as well!

[SMILE. WAIT FOR APPLAUSE.]

After my tour of your lovely country, I'll return to Miami and announce a host of changes to the airport. Let me assure each of you right now that these changes will be purely cosmetic and will in no way inhibit the many lucrative business opportunities for which our airport is justly famous. No, this is a little game we play in Miami. First there is some negative publicity. Then I do some polling to determine if it is something that might affect my chances for re-election. And if the polls say it is, I immediately call a press conference, announce a twelve-point initiative to fix the problem, and then declare victory.

The public buys it. I'm hailed as a reformer. And in the end, business thrives free of meddlesome intrusions.

I'd like to thank [NAME OF MAYOR] for this wonderful luncheon in my honor. But I can see the little ones are getting restless. [PAUSE] No, not my children. I'm talking about Bill Johnson from the county manager's office and Chuck Towsley from the seaport.

[LAUGH. WAVE TO BILL AND CHUCK.]

Just kidding, guys. But go ahead and bring the car around.

Once again, thank you for this warm reception. I'm sure we'll be back. After all, Lillie has many relatives in Spain and I'm sure we won't be able to see them all on this trip.

[LAUGH. SMILE. WAVE. SHAKE HANDS WITH MAYOR.]

jim_defede@miaminewtimes.com

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