Mayor Manny's Legacy Crumbles Before His Eyes

Manny Diaz wasn't arrested for throwing a box of tea at his wife. He never showed up mad as hell, in his pajamas, at a constituent's house at 5 a.m. He never lead the city's budget into complete shambles. So, really, by those standards, he should leave office this fall as the best mayor the City of Miami has had in the recent past.

Just last month, his name was being circulated as a potential Democratic candidate for state CFO. Before that, it wasn't unusual to see his name on very long lists of possible senate or gubernatorial candidates. And of course, in the winter, we played a long game of "Which cabinet spot will Manny get?" before coming up empty-handed.

But last night saw the defeat of one of his signature reforms: Miami 21, an ambitious zoning plan that aimed, in part anyway, to turn Miami into a pedestrian-friendly city focused on neighborhoods.

It might not be totally dead, but it's unlikely the thing will be revisited before a new mayor takes office.

Then there's the matter that the city is in a budget hole, with its reserves depleted by $50 million. Diaz may have saved the city from bankruptcy and turned things around when he first came into office, but the recent developments don't make a good resumé if you're running for, say, chief financial officer. It's not like these are damning crimes, but the timing couldn't be worse for Diaz if he's planning his next step. 

So what does Manny do now? May we suggest he try to salvage another part of his legacy? As in get a real estate license and start selling off all of those empty condos downtown.

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