By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
By Frank Owen
By Allie Conti
Miami-Dade County may well be a crucial battleground for this year's presidential election, but voters here will also choose between Jimmy Morales and Carlos Alvarez for mayor. The election is nonpartisan but as fate would have it, Democratic county commissioner Morales and Republican former police director Alvarez emerged as the finalists from the August primary.
It was Morales staffer B.J. Chiszar who approached The Bitch at a Service Employees International Union rally and offered up this tale: During an earlier stint with mayoral candidate/Hooligan's owner Jay Love, Chiszar says he witnessed Love's campaign manager Brad Nickel and others "hack into" an online Univision poll aimed at getting a read on the county's Latino voters. "I'm not a technical guy, but ... they kept saying they were ödisabling a cookie,'" Chiszar says. The Love staffers clicked for their candidate so many times that he led the poll by an unrealistic margin, according to Chiszar. "So they put Alvarez in first place and Love in second," he recalls.
This type of "hacking" is, of course, known in circles of computer expertise as "hitting the same Website a lot of times." The madcap tale is unverifiable. Nickel denies knowing anything about it, as does a Univision spokesman.
But Chiszar takes it as an indictment of the entire Alvarez campaign -- he says the poll was the beginning of Alvarez's "fake candidacy." Here's how he connects the dots: The Univision poll, taken in early August, affected the following week's Miami Herald poll, which affected the next week's primary. But even if the prank shook out a couple of percentage points' worth of voters in a primary tally, it could not have catapulted Alvarez into first place, which is where he finished on primary election night. It is doubtful that such a doctored poll would have been any more useful in the primary than a story about a doctored poll will be on November 2.
Who's Disgruntled Now?
Part-time swimming pool attendant and recreational guitarist Mark Whittington wants the world to know he is not going to let the man get him down. "I'm like a rattlesnake," Whittington professes. "I don't bother anyone, but if you step on me, you're gonna get bit."
For the past ten months, Whittington's venom has been directed at William Alvarez, president of Sterling One Realty and a lieutenant with the Miami Police Department. Whittington claims that Alvarez harassed and threatened him when he resided in an apartment building near the Vizcaya Metrorail station.
The trouble began when Eli Maine decided to sell the property in 2003. Whittington says he provided a copy of his apartment key to Maine with a note requesting that Maine give Whittington at least one day's notice before showing the unit. "I have all these expensive guitars, so I wanted to lock them away while people were looking through the apartment," Whittington explains.
But Whittington claims Maine and Alvarez, who is serving as the seller's agent for the property, showed up unannounced to see the apartment at least four times, and some sort of fracas, complete with hurled racial epithets, erupted on a subsequent house call when Whittington wouldn't let the pair in.
Whittington has filed two lawsuits against Maine and Alvarez in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleging that Alvarez committed "forcible entry" and "intentionally inflicted emotional distress." Both complaints were dismissed. Whittington, who represented himself, has since filed a discrimination complaint against Alvarez with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Alvarez's attorney, Chad Tamaroff, says his client denies all of Whittington's charges. "It's funny how those derogatory racial comments didn't come up in his civil complaints," Tamaroff scoffs. "Mr. Whittington's accusations lack merit. He's just doing whatever he can to put pressure on my client to pay up some money."
"He sees me as a piece of crap because I'm white, have long hair, and play guitar," Whittington fumes. "And here he is, a Realtor, in the Miami Police Department. God forbid anyone who stands in his way."