The Dullness of Being Manny Diaz

Miami used to be a punch line, but now the joke is on bored reporters

From his championing of a city lawsuit against Los Van Van concert promoter Debbie Ohanian, or any promoter of "an event that offends one part of the community," to what police officials considered his incitement of Elian protesters to attack officers trying to control crowds, Regalado has shown few qualms about using his influence as a commissioner to stifle voices seen as objectionable in the eyes of el exilio. And just to dispel any hopes he might have moderated his fervor, this past week he called for immediate asylum for accused exile terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, a position that had even hardliners like Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart diving for political cover. One can only shudder at the thought of a Mayor Regalado with expanded powers.

Regalado has been quick to highlight allegations of cronyism on Diaz's part, but he's mentioned little in the way of concrete alternatives. He countered Diaz's state-of-the-city address with nothing more than a vague one-sentence warning about Miami's "growing pains." In fact Regalado's chief complaint against the mayor's office would seem to be that it doesn't have his name on the door or hiscronies holding court inside. No doubt Miami's drama-starved reporters are already practicing their chants ofRun, Tomas, run!


Blatant media hype just doesn't pay off like it used to. That's the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the promotional blitz surrounding Dish & Tell: Life, Love, and Secrets, a self-help confessional penned by "The Miami Bombshells" -- six fortysomething female professionals whose high-heeled ranks include former Miami Herald execs Sara Rosenberg and Patricia San Pedro, as well as Todayshow consultant Tammi Leader Fuller, all of whom were hoping to spark a best-selling phenomenon on the order of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

As previously reported by New Times ("Bombshell Blowback," June 16), the Herald's publication of no less than seven excerpts from Dish & Tell, not to mention two feature stories and a host of in-house ads plugging the book, had many of that paper's staffers fuming over a perceived ethical conflict, echoingHerald editor Tom Fiedler in wondering "Were we perhaps seduced and manipulated and used?" Or simply asking, "Why are we publishing this absolute drivel?"

Seven weeks since its May 24 release, and despite a New York Timesprofile by former Herald reporter Mirta Ojito, morning face time on NBC with Katie Couric, and a wealth of in-store appearances, the great bulk of Dish & Tell's first printing of 40,000 appears headed for the remainder table -- or the pulping machines. At press time a scant 3404 copies had been sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales in 70 to 75 percent of the nation's stores, from behemoths Amazon.com, Borders, and Target to local independents like Books & Books. And while Random House still has paperback and Spanish-language versions slated in hopes of recouping the losses, it's doubtful the publisher will be throwing good money after bad in ponying up for a sequel. Don't feel too bad for the Bombshells though. They still get to keep every penny of their reported "low six-figure" advance.

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