Miami New Times. This week, Luke -- who is a candidate to replace more-boring-than-bread-pudding ex-Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez -- explains why a rerun for former Mayor Alex Penelas would be no good.
Just when you thought the old days were over, they're back. The establishment's favorite Cuban-American politician, Alex Penelas, told the Miami Herald last week: "I'm thinking about [running for mayor] because I see a community at a crossroads." But in case you have forgotten what Penelas left behind for county taxpayers, let me remind you.
He was among those who originated the idea of a baseball stadium for the
Marlins. He started the mess we are in now. He got the ball rolling
after tricking voters into approving a basketball arena on Biscayne Bay
for Micky Arison.
Penelas, elected in 1996 as the first "executive" mayor, was the guy who
let all the lobbyists get rich under his watch. His buddies, including
lawyer Chris Korge and lobbyist Rodney Barreto, became multimillionaires
after getting pieces of county contracts. Some of Penelas's other
stellar accomplishments include selecting unproven and inexperienced
ex-Homestead Mayor Steve Shiver as county manager and trying to rid
Miami-Dade of its first African-American aviation director, Angela
Then there's Penelas's unwavering loyalty to the Democratic Party. Not!
He publicly refused to help the Clinton administration when it was
trying to return Cuban rafter boy Elián González to his father on the
island. And he wasted millions in taxpayer money by suing the federal
government over Clinton's decision to kill the commercial airport at
Homestead Air Force Base. As if that weren't enough, Penelas screwed Al
Gore in the 2000 presidential election by disappearing at key moments.
Since he was soundly defeated in the 2004 U.S. Senate Democratic
primary, Penelas has been trying his hand at lobbying. I guess he hasn't
had much success working in the shadows. Now the special interests need
someone else to parade in the African-American community because
Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina can't cut it. After all, Penelas is the king of buying off black
But this special election is about people power. I'm going to bring
together every Cuban, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Dominican, Puerto Rican,
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Haitian, Jew, Gator, Hurricane, Golden Panther, Seminole, and Rattler in
Miami-Dade County. And we are going to take our community back.
Follow Campbell on Twitter at: @unclelukereal1.