Knowing that tomorrow will be Natacha Seijas's last day as a county commissioner has us all queasy like a twelfth grader on the last day of school. It's like Banana Republican is entering the unknown unknown, a surreal world without the poster lady for bad local government. Her departure had us reminiscing about the first and only time we had a personal tender moment with Seijas, who along with Carlos Alvarez was recalled by voters.
It was shortly after a county commission committee meeting in early 2006. Flanked by her loyal chief of staff Terry Murphy, her left arm in a cast and a sling, Seijas wobbled down from the dais of the commission chamber inside the Stephen P. Clark Center. We were working on a cover story about the recall effort against her that year and wanted to give her the opportunity to sit down and tell her side.
She had already no love for Miami New Times given the negative coverage she got from our former columnist Jim DeFede. And she always railed against those folks "who buy ink by the barrel." So I expected to see some of her acerbic personality up close and personal.
Instead, Seijas was very cordial. She was very effusive with her praise for how we handled the barrage of media and community criticism we received over the "Tales of Teele" cover story. "I admire how you took your lumps," she said. "I respect that a lot." Then she declined comment for our piece about her, the one where we ended up illustrating her as the green-skinned witch from Wicked, the theatrical prequel to the Wizard of Oz.
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After that, we never had another face-to-face with Seijas until her court hearings last month to stop the second and successful recall against her. This time, she was protected by a phalanx of courthouse cops and a sergeant-at-arms that resembled a mob enforcer. Seijas maintained her cone of silence with New Times and other media outlets around town right up until the bitter end.
There are so many reasons Seijas deserved to be recalled, which Eye On Miami did a good job summarizing, so there is no need for us to brow beat it. Nevertheless, County Hall reporting will definitely miss the mean queen.
There will never be another politician like her. ¡Que Viva Natacha!