It was just two years ago the Miami Herald and Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle were whacking Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez for violating the city's charter. Yup, Mayor Loco #1 illegally tried to hire and fire employees, which is the city manager's job. Now City Manager Donald Warshaw is alleging that Mayor Joe Carollo demanded he fire Police Chief Bill O'Brien "dozens of times; more times than I can count." (That according to the Sun-Sentinel on May 2.) Question is, when does Mayor Loco #2 get his comeuppance from either the newspaper or the top prosecutor?

Signs said it all at Saturday's protests, both the peaceful pro-Elian march down Calle Ocho and the Proud to be an American gathering on U.S. 1 in South Miami-Dade. A sampler from Little Havana: Reno negotiates like a Pearl Harbor Jap. Clinton, give your daughter to Castro. Clinton = Satan. CNN = Castro News Network. CNN = Communist News Network. Wye River reindoctrination camp courtesy of Clinton, Reno, and Castro. Sex, lies, violence: the legacy of the Clinton administration. Father knows best: Sorry, not this time! Elian victim of two lying immorals: a sexual pervert and a violent dyke. Clinton has no balls -- Monica swallowed them. Eight years in power and all Clinton's done is Monica. Carollo for president. Then there were the placards a few miles away: Cubans full of themselves and living in a time warp. Carollo & Penelas, Beavis and Butt-head, can you tell the difference? Reno, please send Feds for Penelas & Carollo, they suck. And Weaver = gun runner. Koresh = child molester. Gonzalez = kidnapper.

Post-Elian, the Miami Herald's brow surely needs a break. To wit: "Columnist Liz Balmaseda raised some eyebrows in journalistic circles when she appeared in a prayer circle outside the Gonzalez family home" (April 23). And after it was disclosed that publisher Alberto Ibargüen had been present during negotiations to end the impasse over the twerpito: "The revelation in court papers of Ibargüen's participation in the conversation raised eyebrows in the newsroom. At the time of the conversation, reporters were hurriedly compiling stories on the raid" (April 26).

Finally there was this bizarre exile version of liberation theology purveyed last month by Monsignor Eduardo Villano to a group of exile protesters. After reciting a rosary, he began: A man enters the confessional and says to the priest: "Father, I have a confession. I had an evil thought. I felt like killing Fidel Castro." And the priest replies, "It is good that you have confessed. You are forgiven. But next time you should kill him first and then confess."

This just in: Ingrid Casares and accused goon Chris Paciello have sold their South Beach joint Bar Room. The buyers are promoter Michael Capponi, Bolero restaurant owner Lily Zanardi, and a silent partner. The $1.8 million deal was concluded this past weekend, Capponi says. The partners will hold a final party at the club on May 13, then change the name to 320 (as in the address of the locale, 320 Lincoln Rd.).

On the "this is journalism?" front, Roberto Vizcon, news director for Telemundo, quoted in the April 23 Herald: "Especially if you work in a minority media outlet like ours, it's very hard to distance yourself and cover the story from a cool, very unbiased way of thinking." Asked just a few days before what would happen if a member of his station's news team expressed, on the air, the opinion that Elian should be reunited with his father, he responded bluntly: "He'd be fired."

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse