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Best of Miami 2017: Miami's Best and Worst Politicians

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine both made New Times' Best of Miami 2017 lists — but for very different reasons.
South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine both made New Times' Best of Miami 2017 lists — but for very different reasons.
photos: Monica McGivern/via City of Miami Beach
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Even in a year when Donald Trump vacuumed up all available political oxygen like a voracious orange Roomba, Miami's local politicos still made some unbelievable headlines. From (maybe joking) promises to invade Cuba to bold stands against Florida Power & Light to failed attempts to trick voters into torpedoing solar power in South Florida, it was a hell of a year in South Florida's halls of power.

New Times' full Best of Miami 2017 issue is now online. Here's a rundown of the grand political successes and epic failures that earned out recognition this year:

In Everglades National Park, Stoddard takes a moment to tell President Obama how Turkey Point is endangering the area.
In Everglades National Park, Stoddard takes a moment to tell President Obama how Turkey Point is endangering the area.
Courtesy of Michelle McGovern

Best Politician: South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard

As mayor of a place most South Floridians could barely place on the map, Stoddard has taken on one of the state's most powerful institutions — Florida Power & Light — and, in his free time, become one of Florida's loudest voices on climate change. 

Best of Miami 2017: Miami's Best and Worst Politicians
courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

Best Political Miscalculation: Florida Power & Light's anti-solar Amendment 1 

FPL sank $8 million into trying to trick voters, but a think tank's president working with the monopoly was caught on tape boasting about their transparent plan to fool Floridians. The amendment was quashed at the ballot box, falling far short of the 60 percent it needed to pass. Sad!

Best Quote: "The mayor... was not serious about invading Cuba." — Christian Ulvert, adviser to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

"Why aren't we discussing the invasion of the island?" Levine asked the crowd, to what some in attendance said were audible gasps. He then said a platoon of U.S. troops could likely take over within 24 hours.

The Miami-Dade School Board wants control over WLRN.
The Miami-Dade School Board wants control over WLRN.

Best Chutzpah: Miami-Dade County School Board's attempted WLRN power grab

Apropos of nothing, the school board randomly decided it ought to have the power to hire and fire WLRN reporters and wanted to immediately force the station's 19 journalists to "reapply" for their jobs.

Best of Miami 2017: Miami's Best and Worst Politicians
Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Best Local Boy Gone Bad: Reince Priebus

He's not the kind of kid you'd have expected to help usher fascism into America. Yet there he is today, ever-present in the shadow of Donald Trump. As White House chief of staff, he has overseen the xenophobic Muslim ban, stood behind the Russian-aided election hacking, and silently cheered the catastrophic Trumpcare plan.

Best of Miami 2017: Miami's Best and Worst PoliticiansEXPAND
Photo by Stian Roenning

Best Twitter Feed: Ana Navarro

The Nicaraguan-American grew up idolizing Ronald Reagan and worked for Jeb Bush and John McCain. But horrified by the rise of the Donald, she became an early queen of the #NeverTrump handle. Now she spends hours every day striking out at the party hypocrites still backing the Cheeto Jesus, and she never pulls punches

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