On October 12, the Miami Herald editorial board endorsed Linda Haskins for Miami city commissioner. The editors touted her as the best prepared candidate from a field of seven due to Haskins' "integrity, experience and knowledge of the city and job." They lauded Haskins for advocating a moratorium on future hi-rise projects to slow down the unbridled development in Miami, particularly in district two.
But the board failed to mention that McClatchy Cos., the Herald's parent, has agreed to sell 10 acres surrounding the newspaper's bayfront headquarters to developer Pedro Martin and his partners for $190 million. The deal is contingent on Martin obtaining rezoning approvals and building permits from the City of Miami to erect a shopping plaza and up to three condo towers.
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On November 9, two days after the city's special election, in which Haskins forced a runoff with candidate Marc Sarnoff, she voted in favor of putting a 63-floor condo at the foot of the Venetian Causeway, the final component to Martin's redevelopment plan.
In light of these circumstances, I can't help but wonder if the Herald editors should have refrained from picking one of the contenders to replace suspended commissioner Johnny Winton. Granted, major daily newspapers endorsing candidates during election season is seen by most observers as a normal course of business, even a duty.
But it doesn't look good or smell right when the Herald makes a pick in a race in which the newspaper has a vested business interest. At the very least, the editorial board should have disclosed its deal with Martin.
Editorial pages editor Joe Oglesby didn't respond to a voice message and an email yesterday seeking comment.-Francisco Alvarado