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County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz Comes Up With A Dumb Idea

You can always count on Jose "Pepe" Diaz to give Miami-Dade residents a reason to impose term limits on county commissioners. Seriously, who is advising Diaz? Scott Rothstein?

How else can you explain the scam Diaz wants to pull on county taxpayers. Last week, he unveiled a legislative measure that would allow each commissioner the ability to set up a trust fund so they can collect "tax-deductible private sector contributions for such public purpose projects in the commissioner's district." Kudos to eyeonmiami for sniffing out the smelly proposal.

In simpler terms, "a slush fund," says Robert Jarvis, an ethics professor at Nova Southeastern University's law school. "This is very bad public policy."

Jarvis further explains Diaz's proposal is just another way for him and his colleagues to dole out political patronage. "You are allowing private individuals or companies to buy influence," Jarvis says. "And then come election time, the incumbents can grease the wheels."


The commissioner's spokeswoman, Olga Vera, did not respond to a phone message or an email requesting comment. But it is obvious Diaz did not consult any ethics experts before publicly disclosing his plan. Although at least one

county watchdog - Miami-Dade Ethics Commission executive director

Robert Meyers - thinks Diaz's "slush fund" resolution won't get any

traction.


"I will reserve any comments until the matter reaches the public hearing stage," Meyers said, "assuming it gets that far."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.