He's baaaaaaaaaaack. Sixteen years after he lost his bid to be reelected Miami's mayor, "Crazy Joe" Carollo is returning to 3500 Pan American Dr. as a city commissioner. Tuesday night, he squeaked out a narrow victory in a runoff against Alfie Leon, a former aide to Carollo's brother Frank, who's vacating the District 3 commission seat that Crazy Joe just won.
Voters put Carollo back in office despite excessive baggage that includes, among other vicious behavior, being accused of battering his ex-wife by throwing a tea canister that left a golf-ball-sized welt on her forehead. There's also his not-so-subtle racist ways. In the 1970s, he endorsed pro-segregation candidate George Wallace and placed a Ku Klux Klan cartoon in the mailbox of a black police officer as a "prank."
During his polarizing run for the District 3 seat, Carollo showed he has not matured. For instance, he sent out mailers attacking Leon as being soft on crime because he posed for a photo with the rapper Juvenile. At his victory party, Carollo gloated he beat back a political establishment that wants to line its pockets with the city's cash.
"There were times during this election when I saw so much defamation and so many lies thrown at me, so much hate, that I was wondering, Why did I get myself back into this, back into this cesspool of corruption like we have here in Miami?" Crazy Joe said.
Among other things, he promised to construct 10,000 units of affordable housing in the city. That's probably the only thing we have to look forward to. If he can stop all of these foreign investors from buying up Miami, it would a good thing. But that probably won't happen.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Crazy Joe will come in like a bull in a china shop. He'll throw his weight around and try to knock Mayor Francis Suarez and his fellow commissioners off their game. Watch out, Keon Hardemon! It's gonna be a crafty old politician versus a young Turk trying to bring the city into the 21st Century.
But Crazy Joe might be underestimating Suarez and Hardemon, who have shown they know how to play rough-and-tumble politics and who can count on their family members, crafty old politicians themselves. Suarez can lean on his father and Carollo's most bitter enemy: former Miami mayor and current Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez. And Hardemon has his uncle Billy and his aunt Barbara.
During his first year in office, Carollo and his fuck-the-world attitude will turn city commission meetings into a reality TV show. After that, he will have to learn that Miami government is not the same as it was when he held power in the 1990s. If he doesn't get this, he'll just be an ineffective mad dog.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.