Lawbreakers Beware!

Until the county's Cuba ordinance is rescinded, it remains the law of this land. Which is precisely why we must support the Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary.

 Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary


TO: Supreme Commander, Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary
FROM: Robert Andrew Powell, Sergeant at Arms
RE: Morale problems among the troops

Attached are volunteer Ofcr. R. Guerra's first reports from the field. Please read them carefully. I'm afraid the initial reception of our Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary has been less -- how should I say this? -- sympathetic than we had hoped. This must be addressed promptly.

As the lead officer on CACA's "street enforcement unit," Officer Guerra set out to assist in compliance with the county's Cuba Ordinance. As you know, the 1996 law requires all entities doing business with the county to sign a "Cuba Affidavit." This piece of paper certifies that the entity -- and everyone the entity does business with -- is not actively trading with the communist island nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent rejection of a Massachusetts law "seemed" to void the Cuba Ordinance. In the wake of the June ruling, Miami-Dade County Attorney Robert Ginsburg advised the county manager, mayor, and commissioners that the Cuba Ordinance can no longer be enforced. Local government, in his words, can't require submission of the Cuba Affidavit "as a condition of contracting with the county."

I employ the word seemed with deliberate sarcasm. While Mayor Penelas immediately declared the troublesome ordinance dead, the county technically continues to defend against an anti-ordinance lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. For its part the ACLU has not yet tried to use the Supreme Court's ruling as a legal wrecking ball to smash the local ordinance.

In other words the law remains on the books -- and yet the county insists it will not be enforced. At CACA we believe first and foremost in the rule of law. That's why we empowered Officer Guerra to enforce the ordinance at various high-traffic locations around Miami-Dade. Unfortunately I must report that his public-spirited labors have been met with contempt not only by misguided government officials but, I'm afraid, by the citizenry at large.

As committed as I remain to the CACA mission, we must recognize that Officer Guerra's limited time as an intern may be better spent fetching us lunchtime TropiChops from Pollo Tropical. Please review the reports and advise ASAP.

TIME: 1:15 P.M.
BADGE NO. 0001

NARRATIVE: After a brief sweep of the Main Library, where this officer was ejected for interrogating citizens checking out books, I made my way over to Government Center. As this officer approached the "people mover," I noticed passengers simply dropping quarters into the turnstiles, walking out to the waiting area, and subsequently boarding the trains. Are they doing business with Cuba? No one at the county attempted to find out. "I ain't enforcing nothing," said a county employee working the Metrorail information booth. She declined to state her name. "I never heard of it. All we do is sell passes. We don't know nothing about anything."

This officer paid his fare and stepped out onto the waiting area. The first subject questioned was Richard Rosenthal, an attorney.

“I work for the county,” Rosenthal replied when asked to sign the affidavit. “Trust me, the county doesn't do business with Cuba.”

This officer explained that his word was not good enough. He still needed to sign the affidavit in case he was doing any side deals with Castro, à la Mariano Faget.

“You shouldn't be misleading people into signing things they don't have to,” he snapped, pushing away my clipboard. He was very angry, very assertive, possibly trying to impress a female subject standing beside him.

TIME: 3:12 P.M.
BADGE NO. 0001

NARRATIVE:. As the site of the annual Royal Caribbean Classic, the golf course at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne is a high-profile destination. This officer deemed it important to ensure that the county-operated facility complies with existing law. I arrived during twilight teeoff and positioned myself at the starter's tent, near the driving range.

Immediately this officer encountered two male individuals, middle-age, both in khaki shorts and white polo shirts. One wore a red baseball cap. Again, both subjects declined to surrender their names. By paying $27 apiece for a round of golf, they were engaging in business with the county, and therefore needed to sign the Cuba Affidavit. I provided forms and writing instruments to each gentleman, but they refused to sign.

“I'm retired; I'm not from here,” protested the man in the hat as he posted his Titleist between the markers. “No hablo español is the best I do around here.” If the capped gentleman was joking, I found no amusement and told him so. At my insistence that subject respect the rule of law, he repeated that he was retired and that he, in his words, “don't do business with no one.”

“Look, we're on vacation,” stated the hatless member of the pair in a tone I must describe as belligerent. “I'm a low-key guy and we're on vacation and we are here simply to golf, okay, buddy?”

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