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, Luke issues the last word on his endorsement of Julio Robaina for mayor.
The spin doctors are hard at work because I am endorsing the candidate whom the media dislikes. I fought for constitutional rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And now, all of sudden, I am going to sell out voters to get a friend a job? C'mon.
After the May 24 special election, I had several extensive conversations and face-to-face meetings with Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez about the issues affecting Miami-Dade. I thought long and hard about the ramifications of giving my endorsement. The easiest thing I could have done was stay out of the race, but that would be a disservice to democracy and the 20,000 people who voted for me.
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For me, Gimenez and Robaina are the establishment candidates. Unfortunately, more voters decided to go with the two establishment candidates in the runoff. And despite the things I said and wrote about them during the campaign, both candidates put egos aside to meet with me and convince me that one of them is capable of uniting this community and fixing county government.
My endorsement was never contingent on Gimenez or Robaina giving Miami-Dade School Board Operations Director Pierre Rutledge a job. And it has never been about money with me. If I were about getting paid, when Gimenez supporter and Homestead City Councilman Jimmy Williams offered me a $40,000 appearance fee for a restaurant that had not even opened, I would have taken it. Williams made the offer after we concluded a 1 a.m. meeting on June 7 with Gimenez inside Snappers at 800 Ives Dairy Rd.
I made my decision based on several factors. One of them was this: I asked both guys how they would feel about a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama situation, where I could have input in their administrations and suggest — not strong-arm — hiring good, squeaky-clean people who would help implement parts of my platform. Robaina was cool with doing that, while Gimenez wavered.
Ultimately, I endorsed Robaina in exchange for the promise of thousands of jobs for Miami-Dade residents, not for just one individual. If that is criminal, throw my ass in jail.