Luther Campbell, the man whose booty-shaking madness 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, Luke assesses his old campaign foe's sorry job performance.
During almost ten months in office, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has done a good job of dressing up his achievements. He's made people believe he is following through on campaign promises. But Gimenez hasn't done anything to prove he's a reformer. In fact, it's business as usual at county hall.
The former fire chief has become a full-blown politician. He's interested only in raising money for re-election, protecting bureaucrats who make more than $100,000 a year, and getting rid of low-salary, rank-and-file employees who can least afford to lose their jobs.
He's a BS artist, and everybody who voted for him fell for his act. On the campaign trail, Gimenez boasted he would reduce the number of county departments from 60 to 25 and get rid of some of the bureaucratic dead wood. It seemed he followed through. But what he hasn't explained publicly, at least so far, is that when he cut the number of departments, he didn't get rid of any directors who earn six-figure salaries. He just shuffled job titles.
Sure, he cut his own salary in half, but then he awarded five new deputy mayors annual salaries of more than $200,000. Meanwhile, he's done a great job of threatening to lay off cops and has forced the police department to operate on a shoestring budget. That will make it tougher to catch dangerous criminals such as the thugs who shot up a funeral home near North Miami on March 31, killing two people and injuring 14.
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Gimenez has also been wishy-washy about allowing development closer to the Everglades. He squashed Florida International University's proposal to move the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo to a site past the urban development boundary, but he didn't do anything to stop the county commission from approving Homestead-Miami Speedway's expansion into sensitive wetlands. He was also silent when commissioners approved a rock-mining operation on agricultural land that's within 100 feet of Everglades National Park.
I guess Gimenez has been busy collecting $1.6 million in contributions for his re-election campaign and pandering to Cuban-American voters about Miami Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen. He hasn't had time to actually lead.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.