Norman Braman Is a Phony, and So Are His Candidates

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke goes after the County Commission's biggest enemy.

Car magnate, activist, and billionaire Norman Braman has everyone fooled. He's not really interested in reforming Miami-Dade County government. This is all part of a grand scheme to build his brand by promoting his name as a concerned civic leader. He's a phony. But what do you expect from a car salesman? They'll say anything to get you to buy a car off the lot.

It's a helluva marketing scheme. He is getting free advertising in the Miami Herald and on local TV stations. Every other day, there's a new Braman headline. He's just keeping his name out there to sell more Bentleys, Cadillacs, and BMWs. Heck, he recently opened a Kia dealership, so he needs more middle-class customers. His campaign is for his own self-interest.

The proof is in the crackpots and nobodies he's supporting against the African-American county commissioners in the August 14 primary. Braman is not interested in recruiting the best candidates. If that were the case, he would have found some of the brightest young minds to run for office. Instead, he's backing Alison Austin, the chief executive of TACOLCY, a nonprofit Liberty City group, to face off against Audrey Edmonson. Austin is a nice lady, but she couldn't even beat Rev. Richard Dunn II for Miami commissioner. Almost no one in Liberty City knows her.

In South Miami-Dade, Braman is supporting a Tea Party radical, Dade County Farm Bureau president Alice Peña, against Dennis Moss. This lady is far to the right; she wants county government to get rid of the department that handles environmental protection. Braman is also backing former Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson, who won the endorsement of anti-gay group the Christian Family Coalition, versus Barbara Jordan.

Braman is taking a page out of mega-lobbyist Ronald Book's playbook. He wants to control the black commissioners and at the same time get people to say, "I like what Braman is doing in politics — let me go buy a new car from him." But his plan will backfire in the black community.

African-American voters are not stupid. They won't vote for Braman's puppets. And they certainly won't buy a car from one of his dealerships.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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