Who's that Man Behind the Badge?

Good question, but a bad situation for a mayoral candidate

I'd heard some potentially disturbing things about the Alvarez campaign -- that his initial fundraising strategy was to tap the 3000 cops in his department, which caused some to complain they felt pressured to contribute. I checked. About $45,000, almost a quarter of his contributions through January, was donated by people identifying themselves as law-enforcement officers and their spouses. One department source, who didn't want to be identified, says it's understood that if you're a ranking officer who relies on promotions for career advancement, you'd better attend a fundraiser.

"I heard that at the very, very beginning of my campaign," Alvarez responds candidly. "I made sure to tell my command staff that this was not MDPD-related, and everything I do is conducted outside the office. I made it known that I did not want supporters inside the department to do anything to make subordinates feel pressured."

I additionally wanted to check what role Camilo Padreda was playing in his fundraising. Padreda was a powerful Republican money machine in the Eighties. He's also a convicted felon who defrauded the federal government and has admitted in court to bribing public officials to vote for everything from county zoning changes to a Miami city manager candidate. "He's a man I've known for 25 years," Alvarez says with a sigh. "He offered to help. He is one of a thousand people who is helping me. I didn't hire him, he's not my fundraiser, and he's not my campaign manager. And yes, he's had his ups and downs over the years."

County Police Director Carlos Alvarez: Some say he squandered a great political opportunity, but he begs to differ
Jonathan Postal
County Police Director Carlos Alvarez: Some say he squandered a great political opportunity, but he begs to differ

Fair enough. After all, one thing is clear: Alvarez needs all the help he can get. Otherwise he really will be our Wesley Clark.

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