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Like a lot of Apple fanboys, county Commissioner Bruno Barreiro recently spent big at the silicon superstore — nabbing $6,583 worth of electronics at the Lincoln Road and Dadeland Mall outlets. He also reimbursed himself $4,166 for a computer.
He didn't spend his own money on the gadgets; he dipped into his flush campaign coffers. Barreiro hasn't opened a campaign office yet, so Riptide was curious about how the political architect of Miami's most hated baseball stadium deal was using the pricey goods. Were they just personal toys?
Reached on his cell phone, Barreiro denies they're for personal use. He insists he needs top-of-the-line equipment for the August 14 primary, in which he is facing state Rep. Luis Garcia and two other poorly funded challengers. (Barreiro has raised $109,025, while his opponents have raised a combined $14,465.)
"In this day and age, campaigns are relying more and more on Internet communication and websites," Barreiro says. "That is why I made the investment in these products. Apple has better graphics and data-handling capabilities than [Windows] computers and [Android] tablets."
Adds Jarvis: "He needs to show some legitimate reason why these purchases were an appropriate expenditure."
Barreiro says he uses the iPad he bought for $960 last August 16 to collect data from voters when he is knocking on doors. As for the $3,708 MacBook Pro he purchased on February 20 and the $1,747 worth of software, supplies, and accessories, the commissioner says they are used to compile that data.
"There are applications that allow you to gather information more effectively," Barreiro says. "We have been using the computers to put together mailing lists and birthday cards for registered voters."
Barreiro adds that the $10,749 worth of electronics will help him spend less money on campaign consultants. "I'm doing a lot of things in-house."