Miamians were pissed off yesterday about Carlos Gimenez's plan to shutter 13 libraries around town. So when we saw him at a groundbreaking ceremony today, we thought we'd ask Gimenez a simple question: what's his favorite book? His answer: Fahrenheit 451.
Yes, that's right. Our library-closing county mayor's favorite book is about a dystopian future in which the government closes libraries, burns books, and does not want people to read.
Which leads us to believe that either (1) Gimenez has some rare disease that inhibits his ability to detect irony, or (2) that he's never actually read Fahrenheit 451.
Either way, his answer speaks volumes about our new mayor. As did his brief speech at the groundbreaking ceremony. He started by introducing himself.
"Hi, I'm Carlos Gimenez and I'm the mayor of Miami-Dade County," he began. Somebody please tell him that he doesn't have to do that anymore. It sounds like he's still trying to convince himself he's up to the job.
Then, following up on Sen. Bill Nelson's claim that he was a Latin Dancer as a kid in the Orange Bowl Parade, Gimenez made things... awkward.
"I just have one comment," he said. "Senator Nelson, I think I'll pay to watch you do some Latin dancing. Como estas?"
(Cue uncomfortable laughs from the audience.)
Gimenez at today's groundbreaking ceremony for a Port of Miami rail project.
Michael E. Miller
Thankfully, when we approached Gimenez after his speech, he did not offer to pay us to dance. But he was taken aback by our favorite book question.
A bystander -- perhaps detecting a geeky underbelly to our newly elected county mayor -- suggested Harry Potter. Not so, Gimenez said.
"I'm more of a Tom Clancy kind of guy," he asserted. Then he thought about it for a moment and added, "Probably Clear and Present Danger."
But five minutes later, the mayor tracked us down to correct himself.
"You asked me my favorite book," he said, catching Riptide starring at Sen. Ben Nelson's papery, translucent old-person skin. "I've been thinking about it and I'd have to say my favorite book is Fahrenheit 451."
We mumbled our thanks and drifted away, only for Gimenez to yell after us: "Have you read it?"
Yes, mayor, we've read it -- along with every other highschooler in America. It's 200 pages long, for Christ's sake. We could have read it during one of your campaign speeches. Just because we write about porn, pot, and Jose Canseco (sometimes all three at once) doesn't mean we don't read.
Speaking of not reading, Gimenez explained his decision to close the 13 libraries as one of simple priorities.
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"We had to prioritize, you know, things," he said. "Do you want to keep fire stations open or not?"
So let's see. Gimenez's plan is to close libraries, keep open fire stations open, and his favorite book is about a fireman whose job is to burn books to ensure that people remain mentally enslaved.
Hide your Herman Melville, Miami.