Crazy Joe is back, but you wouldn't know it from reading the Herald.
Carollo has long been a shark among Miami-Dade's bloodthirsty politicians. Remember when he helped chase Xavier Suarez from office this past March? Or his long-ago intrigue in killing a multimillion-dollar development on Watson Island? Jorge Mas Canosa even challenged the then-pup commissioner to a duel over that fiasco.

Now, with Mas Canosa kaput, the mayor has commissioner Tomas Regalado in his cross hairs. "Carollo's been telling people that I'll be carried from city hall in a body bag," Regalado told Riptide a day before the Herald published a story -- facts laid out by Carollo -- about the commissioner's apparent misuse of a city gasoline credit card.

The story was a whack at the commish's possible mayoral bid. It also failed to note that a political rival was the source. Miami Daily Business Review columnist Tony Doris says he proved the mayor's skullduggery by turning up Carollo's public-information requests for Regalado's gas records. Earlier Doris disclosed a rift between Carollo and city manager Donald Warshaw that brought the manager hurrying back from a recent recruiting trip to Harvard to prove his fealty. The Herald ridiculously downplayed that split.

Regalado's abuse of the taxpayers' dime stinks. But Mayor Joe, as one official put it, "is paid to lead, not investigate."

Crazy Joe stayed out of the limelight as well at this past weekend's posh groundbreaking for the $220 million downtown performing arts center. Actually he was snubbed.

And he was "pissed," according to an associate.
As Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas took kudos and turned dirt, Carollo stomped off the stage. Doesn't bode well. Construction hasn't even begun.

The groundbreaking was notable for two other reasons. The Magic City's celebratory cake (a replica of the planned center) came from Seattle, a disappointment to Miami bakers. And bills are still coming in from the two-day event, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's obscene to pitch a tent with wall-to-wall carpeting and air conditioning so close to one of America's poorest communities.

John Mattes won't get the cash he wanted, at least not yet. A federal appeals court has rejected the Miami attorney's effort to up his profit in the case of Vietnam's lost commandos.

Mattes represented hundreds of South Vietnamese citizens who were sent to the north and taken prisoner during the war, then left to rot by the U.S. government. In 1996 Congress set aside millions for the commandos -- and provided about one million for Mattes. But that wasn't enough for our litigious friend, who demanded more.

Although a trial court accepted his claim (he could have gotten about $2.3 million total), the appeals court turned him down.

La Rumba, the infamous party boat that has bombarded the eardrums of South Florida's waterside dwellers for years, may soon be out at Bayside, after a recent appeals court decision. And there'll be something new: a submarine. This ain't no 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea model. More like 10,000 inches. The city has signed a deal with Silent World Submarines of West Palm Beach to provide a 65-foot-long sub that will carry tourists underwater for an hour at a cost of $85 per head.

as told to Chuck Strouse

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