Julio Robaina squirms and Michael Putney flubs

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, with the election still hanging in the balance, Luke reflects on the mayoral campaign he made serious.

A few weeks ago, WPLG-Channel 10 political reporter Michael Putney announced to the world that I had no shot at winning the mayor's race. Then, at a forum, he confused the NAACP and the KKK when talking about a column I had written about Sen. Marco Rubio. Finally, on his show, This Week in South Florida, he kept asking why voters would take me seriously.

The question is: Who's taking Mike seriously?

Throughout this campaign, I showed Putney, the Miami Herald editorial board, and, most important, Miami-Dade voters — from young hipsters partying at the Vagabond to little old ladies in Aventura — that I can't be taken lightly in a countywide election.

With less than $10,000 in campaign contributions, a small band of hard-working, unpaid volunteers, and the power of the alternative press, we put a real scare into the political machines that control our local elections. We showed them that a candidate who is not beholden to special interests can be taken seriously.

I've enjoyed every minute. I had the opportunity to speak in front of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Business Association. I let their members know their organizations have served only certain segments of the community instead of finding ways to help all of us. I've spoken against the selling-out of the African-American vote by county commissioners and political consultants who are supposed to be protecting their people's interests. I made Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina squirm at the NAACP mayoral forum when I accused him of buying off black candidates Wilbur Bell and Roosevelt Bradley.

Above all, I've shown Miami-Dade voters I know and understand the political landscape in our community. I've demonstrated I'm well informed on the issues that affect every person who claims the 305 as home. And I will continue to be a voice for the disenfranchised whether I'm the mayor, a columnist, or a high school football coach.

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